Forty days are up and life is turning around. God showed up in His mysterious way: leading me toward His holiness even when I wasn’t sure I was on board. Isn’t that sooooo like His word says: He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. ~Phil 1:6
I have felt constrained to do as He commands all through this most recent trial. As strange as that sounds, since I did not remain faithful, I’ve never felt “justified” in my rebellion. I know it is the Holy Spirit within who has continually moved me toward obedience. I don’t have any other way of explaining it except through Paul’s words:
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. But I need something [more]! 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 realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. 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.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.
I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. God went for the jugular when He sent His own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In His Son, Jesus, He personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. ~Romans 7:15-8:4 (The Message)
I got a little carried away there, but had to get to the point. I’m tired of our quoting Romans 7 without the explanation in chapter eight. Thanks be to Jesus Christ, our Lord. HE works HIS will in and through us.
The Spirit of life in Christ…
Not redoubling our efforts…
Simply embracing what the Spirit is doing in us.
In those moments of pure rebellion against His ways,
I can embrace the Spirit within.
He has broken the chains of sin and death.
So yeah, a bit preachy, but loving the real-life working out of these words.
Thank you all for your many prayers.