HE Works HIS Will

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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.

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9 responses »

  1. That’s a very detailed version of that text. I like it. My favorite translation is ‘Oh wretched man am I…who will rescue me from this body of death…but thanks be to God through Christ Jesus.’ The ‘But’ gets me every time. And that’s how He always works doesn’t He? We’re disobedient but God makes us obedient through the convicting and correcting of the Holy Spirit. We’re sinners but God’s grace transforms us to righteousness. We’re confused but God brings clarity to our lives. We’re sad but God gives us joy. And the list goes on and on. Praise God. I am so proud of you for allowing God to direct your path as hard as it may have been. Surely He will get all the glory. Love you and am always praying for you XO

  2. “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.”

    That part hollers at me clearly. Thanks for the message.

  3. Hey, Gch!

    It’s from The Message. I left that part out when I first posted. I love the version you quoted, but to hear a different version sometimes helps us to understand better. I like The Message for the effect it brings to the passage. This link helps to explain Peterson’s reasoning for his paraphrase:

    http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Message-MSG-Bible/

    And you said it perfectly, better than I. He brings us to the place He wants us, even when we don’t want to get there…sometimes. Faithful is He who calls us and He also will bring it to pass.

    Thank you for your prayers…I’m returning the covering. 😉

    You’re very welcome, Slam.
    That part got me too.

  4. “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…” Yes, yes, and…YESSS!!! Far too many jump on the Romans 7 “band wagon”, then *leap* off before hitting Romans 8, verse 1! “NO condemnation”! Can humans still condemn us? Yup. But can “the everlasting GOD, Who never sleeps, never slumbers, never gets tired, never dozes or takes a nap, Who sees & knows *everything*…” — Will *He* condemn us? It’s a “triple N-O”! (And it’s *His* words that *really* count! Let’s store that truth on our portable “memories” now — for later, when the Joy-Grabber comes to track us down!)

  5. Amen, Gracie!

    I do love the “no condemnation” … no need living under a continuous low-lying black cloud. We’ve been made right with God and no one can take that away!!

    Love you. Email soon…promise.

  6. I was also in a bit of a rebellious place not too long ago Michelle and all I know is that He fetches us. We are in His hands. He loves us so that He will not let us go, His faithfulness and His Spirit keep us. And so we know that we can trust Him to complete the good work that He started:)

  7. “He fetches us”

    Amen, Rain. He is our steadfast Shepherd. His continuous love and abundant grace overwhelm. I noticed His small voice working gently within, even when I wasn’t willing to hear. And before I knew it, He had changed My will to do His. I’m sure more rebellion will come, I am human, but at least I’ve learned He will never leave me or forsake.

    Love you, Rain. xo

  8. I got the email from my subscription to your blog a while back.. I saw it every time I checked my email. Today I read it. The day I trusted God to continue His work and reveal His will. I turned down education recently because I felt His voice pointing me in a different direction. As time passes with no clear indication of which direction to go.. then doubt crept in and questioning.. so a fancy job with all the perks showed up and I just knew it was from God ( not asking Him but just guessing it had to be from Him). Then as I get ready to go fill out paperwork God says .. I will provide, I will continue to work in you, I will do what I want .. and this job is not it. I cried and begged because currently I am living at my mom’s, a newlywed, and my husband and I really want our own place. He works hard and I want to help out. But God really tested me today.. Do I give in to the world’s perception of success?? I wanted to.. even if just for enough time to save money and get out of here.. but I didn’t. I know He will provide and when He does it will be because I believed He would and not because I did something to provide for us.. but because God’s will was in order. It was refreshing and helpful to read your words on this very day. Thank you.

  9. Thank you, Heather, for sharing as you’ve done. I’m so grateful this post ministered to you.

    I will pray for His will to be done in your life.
    He knows what He’s doing, even when we have NO idea.

    God bless you.

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