JUST STOP IT! (or, Bob Newhart vs Apostle Paul)

So how about those New Year’s resolutions? By now you know whether or not you’re going to stick with that new diet or Bible reading program or budget. It’s not hard to say the words “I’m going to CHANGE!” It’s a completely different thing to actually do it, though.

I recently saw a clip from Mad TV with Bob Newhart. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out before you read any further.



Don’t you love Newhart’s simple solution (“Just stop it!”) to every problem?

– Don’t like your weight? Stop eating so much!
– Irrational fears? Stop being afraid!
– Careless with money? Stop spending!

It’s appealing, in a way, to look at things so simply. In fact, the church has sometimes taken this approach to confronting sin among Christians. Got a problem with anger? Stop it! Lust? Stop it! Greed, or selfishness or envy or gossip – just CUT IT OUT!

What this simplistic approach fails to take into consideration is that human beings are broken. The world is a masterpiece that has been vandalized by sin. Our nature is corrupted – and no Law or New Year’s resolution is able to make us truly change.

The Apostle Paul comes clean in Romans chapter 7:

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary … For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! … I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. (Romans 7:15-20, The Message)

What we need is transformation. What we need is a Savior. And we need Him more than just the one time when we first choose to follow.

It’s not that change is impossible – it’s just not within our power. We need Him to empower us so we can truly “stop it” – so we can really change.

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
(Philippians 4:13)


Here’s a clip from my song “Matches“, which was written with Romans 7 in mind. Click here to listen: Matches (edited)

“MATCHES”
I’m gonna need some matches
Maybe some gasoline
And when the wind catches
It’s gonna be the end of me
I must have tried a thousand times
A thousand prayers, a thousand lies
I’m gonna need some matches
My hand’s a little shaky
Somebody steady me
My courage always fails me
Right about the time I hit my knees
But everything comes down to this
I choose the fire and faithfulness
It’s time for something drastic
I’m gonna need some matches
And you’ll see me burn, burn, burn
Turning into something new
Watch me burn, burn, burn
Burn away anything that isn’t You
I’m gonna need some matches
Maybe some gasoline
And when the wind catches…

Scott C. Riggan and R. Jason Collum
© 2005 Spinning Plates Music
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7 Responses to JUST STOP IT! (or, Bob Newhart vs Apostle Paul)

  1. Michelle Pfeiffer-Johnson says:

    I had to start mine late because we were soooooo sick at the beginning of the year. I’ve been keeping up with my Bible reading, most nights. And I’ve decided that since my 40th birthday is coming up, that is a good time to start a resolution to get on the “dreadmill” (I got that from you) 3-5 days a week. 🙂

  2. Kathy Dennis says:

    Scott- priceless! Where do you find these nuggets?? Will be showing to my daughter who is attending school for a psychology major. Thank you for all you do and sharing with other imperfect people.

  3. Karen Stevens says:

    I’m not usually a big fan of The Message bible, but I love the way that scripture reads. “The power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions…” = that’s precisely the problem! Thanks for your blog.

  4. Renee Newberg says:

    Wow, that’s good. “The world is a masterpiece that has been vandalized by sin” – that’s a great way to describe our fallenness. And the Matches song gave me chills.

  5. Melody Moore says:

    That clip is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen! He’s a terrible therapist. He should just “stop it”!

  6. Only recently have I started to see an important element that most Evangelicals have dropped,likely in reaction to wrong legalistic applications. It is what John the Baptist started with, as did Jesus in his announcement of the Kingdom – and that is “repentance”. In our present attempt, the usual Evangelical solution still misses the needed “repentance” that Paul leads up to Rom 7 with. It is not only that we cannot change ourselves and God must do it sovereignly (the truth), it is that He will not do it sovereignly without our part of true repentance, which is confession and willingness – be it still powerless. Then —, and only then when the cry is honest and sincere will He intervene. The rich young ruler wasn’t ready yet in Mark 10, even though Mark observed that Jesus loved him.

  7. Thomas Maher says:

    Wow. Great post and really powerful song!

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