If you know me or have read my blog you may be aware that sometimes my brain works in funny ways. Yesterday was a public holiday so I did a wee bit of Christmas shopping and as I was leaving the mall I discovered that I was humming a tune – but to my shock the tune I was humming was not a Christmassy song, but the National Anthem of Malawi! For some reason the Malawi national anthem tends to pop into my head more frequently than it ought. When I first heard it I was working in Malawi and I misheard the words. I heard the local school boys sing a line:
Put on each and every enemy – hunger, disease, envy.
But in fact the real words are:
How amazing that a country should identify it faults and weaknesses in the national anthem. It is a prayer for help and an acknowledgement of sinful tendencies. Envy and jealously is such a big issue in Malawi and is at the root of witchcraft and corruption. I think the Apostle Paul would approve of the anthem – he was a big believer in acknowledging areas of struggle.
Romans 7:15-19 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 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. 19 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.
The Apostle James also saw benefit in being honest with others about our struggles:
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
There is no shame in the fact that we struggle with sin – we are human and fallen, but what a pity that we are so proud that we keep our struggles to ourselves and don’t acknowledge our weaknesses so that people don’t see our faults and use it against us. We should instead take pride in God’s ability to help us overcome temptation and His Grace.
So what will your anthem be? Mine will be a prayer to the only One who can help me resist gluttony and pride – The One who forgives me when I fail. Not a pretty song, but a true one. What will your song be?