Happy Groundhog Day!

We do weird things here in America.

Today, millions will be watching as a rodent named Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole and looks around to see if he sees his shadow. If he does, he’ll get depressed and then disappear back down into his hole which means we’ll have six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, then he’ll stay above ground and celebrate the absolute 100% scientific certainty that spring will come early.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, this Phil-nomenon is so big that Hollywood made a movie about it, entitled — aptly enough — Groundhog Day. In it, Bill Murray plays a grumpy TV weatherman named Phil Connors who is forced to report on the day’s events. (I like his rather succinct summation: “This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.”)

The plot of the movie is a lot like life. Phil is doomed to live the worst day of his life — Groundhog Day — over and over and over. He starts out completely self-absorbed but as he watches the consequences of his selfish actions repeatedly pile up wreckage all around him, he slowly begins to realize that there might be a better way. He stops focusing on himself, starts helping others and eventually discovers that the only way to true joy is through LOVE. He gets a kiss from Andie MacDowell, the spell is broken and everyone lives happily ever after. The End.

Do you ever feel like you’re living your own version of Groundhog Day where you’re stuck in a rut making the same sinful, selfish mistakes over and over and over?

Even the Apostle Paul had days like those. Here’s what he said, in the greatest Bible tongue-twister of all time:

I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do,
I do not do,
but what I hate,
I do.

And if I do
what I do not want to do,
I agree that the law is good.
As it is, it is no longer
I myself who do it,
but it is the sin living in me.
I know that nothing good lives in me,
that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire
to do what is good,
but I cannot carry it out.
For what I do is not the good
I want to do;
no, the evil I do not want to do
— this I keep on doing.
Now if I do
what I do not want to do,
it is no longer I who do it,
but it is sin living in me
that does it.

Basically, he’s stuck:

So I find this law at work:
When I want to do good,
evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being
I delight in God’s law;
but I see another law at work
in the members of my body,
waging war against
the law of my mind
and making me a prisoner
of the law of sin
at work within my members.

What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me
from this body of death?

Great question. Here’s the answer. (It’s even more effective and long-lasting than a spell-breaking kiss from a movie star.)

Praise be to God —
through Jesus Christ our Lord!
(Romans 7:15-25)

Only Jesus can save us from our sinful selfish selves. So, as you contemplate today and  all its potential groudhoggishness …


(Image credit: Shutterstock.com)


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