“I have discovered this principle of life – that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:21-25
I did it again. Yep, my mouth started moving and the words I had vowed I wouldn’t utter came rushing out. And yep, I thought about just shutting off the deluge but again chose to ignore that bit of wisdom.
And then the self-condemnation and name calling came: Why do you always do this? Why can’t you just keep your mouth shut? Why are you so slow to learn? And you call yourself a Jesus girl.
Anybody else been here?
I could have parked myself at this pity party, which I have done so often in the past. But this time I did listen to the wise voice in my heart when the Holy Spirit suggested I sprint to my Bible and read the Apostle Paul’s words:
“When I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.”
I must confess that I felt a moment of grace here. If Paul, the unflappable, strong-willed, powerful author of most of the New Testament, had a problem with this then I’m not the only Jesus follower involved in this wrestling match between the Spirit and the flesh.
Grace doesn’t excuse the behavior. Grace tells me that I’m forgiven, that Jesus died for my untamable tongue…and my long list of imperfections.
There is hope. In the very next verse Paul writes, “Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
Even though I choose to follow my flesh, grace pulls me to the cross and reveals the truth. Condemnation is not from God. Conviction yes, but not condemnation.
So I rest there in the shadow of the cross, bearing my soul, asking once again for forgiveness and the strength to make the right choice next time. And I leave refreshed, renewed, and redeemed by our beautiful, loving and grace-full Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t condemn…that’s not why He came. Jesus is in the business of redemption, restoration, renewal and refreshment. Our sin is not a surprise to God. He knows we aren’t perfect, so we need to give ourselves a break.
Celebrate your victories when you choose to follow the urgings of the Holy Spirit. And when your flesh wins out, sprint to your Bible and allow God’s words of love to restore you and refresh you.