I can anticipate the response that is coming:
“I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not.
Isn’t this also your experience?”
Yes. I’m full of myself—after all,
I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison.
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.
ROMANS 7:15-25 (THE MESSAGE)
Sorry for the long Scripture text but I just had to share it all because it is every bit of my experience in my walk with God. “Isn’t this also your experience?”
I don’t know about you but this has been a constant struggle on my journey – what is that struggle? That struggle has been a constant repeat of the history of my sin and weaknesses! I can’t tell you the countless times that I have hit bottom after once again relying on my own strengths – trusting in my own abilities to get things done – my inability to say no – resulting in major burnout and depression. What is so humbling about each time I fall into that pit is that I have no one to blame but myself! And what is even more upsetting is that I know better and I know The Answer but like Paul I find myself crying out “I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?”
Each time I hit bottom my initial reaction is to run from God not to Him. Guilt and shame keep me wanting to hide just like Adam and Eve. But because I know that the only One who can do anything for me is Jesus Christ I return to Him – broken and limping I surrender myself to Him – confessing my sin and accepting my inability to fix myself. I return to Him because He promises …
“… Return to me so I can return to you,”
says God-of-the-Angel-Armies …
MALACHI 3:7 (THE MESSAGE)
“… No one who hopes in me ever regrets it.”
ISAIAH 49:23 (THE MESSAGE)
And I thank God that every time I return to Him and place my hope in Him – He guides me up out of that pit of sin and death – growing me up on the journey. Through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within me my dilemma is resolved!
I don’t mean to leave you hanging here though. Over the next several weeks I will be sharing honestly how I have journeyed back to Him time and time again. It is so good for me and for all of us to remember …
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.
ROMANS 8:1-2 (THE MESSAGE)
On the Journey with You,