“I do not understand what I do.For what I want to do I do not do,but what I hate to do…” (Romans 7:15,NIV)
This is Paul speaking,the Apostle who wrote 13books of the New Testament,almost half!I mean,it would be safe to assume that he had it all figured out right?…
See what he goes on to say,from The Message version of it(Verse 16-20), “…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 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 don‘t have what it takes.I can will it but I can‘t do it.I decide to do it but I do not really do it.I decide not to do bad but I do it anyway. My decisions,such as they are don‘t result in actions.Something has gone wrong deep within me and it gets the better of me every time.”
The sinful/fallen nature inherent in us does not respect title.Whether a Pastor or Bishop,slave or free, CEO or Cook,man or woman,old or young.Paul himself,such a powerful Apostle struggled with this!He also needed help!I would deny this fact from Dusk to Dawn but the truth remains we all are sinful in nature.
I remember a story once told of a child who lied to the mother.Very young,under 4years of age.I have also lied about stealing sugar back in the day around the same age(4years old)… Who taught us to lie in order to escape penalty at such a young age?…Hmmmm…
We,like Paul need help!…Our decisions to keep our promises,love sincerely, keep a secret,bail out on addictions do not result to proportionate actions!…Cases of repeated violence in families.I have experienced and witnessed cases where violence is executed then immediately afterwards an apology is given.After a few hours,the same person who apologised does the exact opposite.Violence recurs.Like Paul,something has gone wrong deep within and gets the better of us every time!…You promise yourself not to gossip/slunder…but there you go again!…You promise yourself not to get involved with any form of corruption,you even swear by Heaven and Earth and whatever else(swearing is not allowed in scripture)…but there you go again!…You promise yourself not to watch pornography or flirt…but there you go again!…😢
One thing is decided but the result is completely different.You have good intentions to stop and turn over a new leaf but you just find yourself back to square one.You do not have what it takes.The will to change and be a better individual is there but the power to do fails you.
Overtime,guilt,shame and self condemnation results.You try sooooo hard to cover what you go through every single day and of course you succeed!No one will ever know what goes on behind the scenes,with all that make-up on and fashion-forward dressing.Infact,no one can ever suspect anything.Looking good on the outside but decaying on the inside.
Do you remember what Adam and Eve did?…After disobeying God by eating the forbidden fruit,they covered themselves with fig leaves(Genesis 3:7-8).How long could they have hidden from God?… He saw where they hid even before he asked where they were(Genesis 3:9-17).At the end of it all God covered their shame in Verse 21.That’s our God!…So gracious!In Psalms 145:8,9 (NIV),David who experienced the Gracious nature of God attested, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate,slow to anger and rich in love.The Lord is good to all.He has compassion on all He has made.” (Last week’s write-up expounded on His rich love)
We do not have to hide from God like Adam and Eve did because we cannot conceal anything from Him.Like Paul,let’s come to a point where we own up and say, “I obviously need help”… Accountability partners,the ABCs of emotional mastery,counsellors,peer groups, pastors work but for a limited time.These have been applied yet individuals still struggle with the same issues they sought help for.Human effort is limited.Let’s involve God in our struggles because all things lay bare before Him.
There are problems only God can solve.He is not scared of or surprised by our mess.Take that porn to Him,that aggressive behaviour,take your wounds and guilt to Him and say, ” I fail again,I fall so short.You know my end,from the start,you know my heart.I need you.” (Donnie Mclurkin,I need you)
He is not scared of or surprised by our mess.
When we cry to Him He hears,when we call on His name,He is near and His hand is always there to hold us.He won’t banish you and I for the mess we present to Him,instead He stretches forth His hand and says, “Come unto me…I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).☺
I end with a powerful statement made by John Piper,the author of Desiring God.He encourages us by saying this,
“Darkness comes.In the middle of it,the future looks blank.The temptation to quit is huge.Don’t. You are in good company…You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward.But with God,nothing is impossible.He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait.Pray without ceasing.Hope”
Let God take every part of your world.Be encouraged.
Have an amazing week ahead!
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