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.
Why does it seem that once a rule is established it becomes a point of constant testing? What is it that insults human intelligence to encounter a boundary? Such things provide the order and security that we want in life. As we approach God’s Kingdom and look in from the outside, we desire all that God is and the refuge and security provided in salvation. We long for righteousness that puts us in close proximity with the Lord, yet as we measure up to the commandments of God there are times when we pick and choose obedience based on our own psyche and what we determine to be right for us. It would seem that upon entrance into the Presence of God and the Glorious Life that is promised one would follow all the rules to maximize its full potential. However, inside the gates of the Holy of Holies is the place where the questioning begins. Why do we struggle with adhering to the guidelines of God’s Word and surrendering our life to God? Paul puts it bluntly when he admits, “God’s commands are spiritual, and I’m not.” How many of you can relate to his confession today and struggle to be spiritual in a carnal world? Who is willing to admit “I’m full of myself?” If we know that God’s Way is clearly better than why do people struggle with releasing their life to Him? Seems like we would willing give God our weakness, failure, defeat and dying flesh in exchange for His Strength, Victory, Hope and Eternal Life. Yet daily believers are in a tug-of-war with the Holy Spirit for control over their life. We want God’s Best but choose to go our own way wondering why we keep missing the mark and where did things go wrong?
The point of origin of your defeat was in the Garden of Eden. It all dates back to when we became fully aware of good and evil. Prior to that moment, mankind only knew the goodness of God and life inside the Law of God. Sin was not an option because evil was not evident. After sin entered the world, everything changed. Our mindset was deeply affected by the invasion of corruption into the human soul. It was from that very moment that the battle for our life began. Now though we know what is good, there is an inner struggle for control because we have been presented with options. There are now two sides. Being created in the image of God, we often struggle with choices that we are not equipped to determine based on our own intellect but require God’s Insight to accurately judge. It was in the Garden that man became divided from God and presented with spirituality and carnality. In this place, the choice that we struggle with every day was born. Being in the likeness of God, we think that we have a choice how to live? Without the Knowledge of God, we do not have all the facts and live in imminent danger of our choices.
Romans 17-20 (MESSAGE)
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.
God knew people needed help to survive the treachery of one’s own mind. He sent Jesus Christ to remedy the situation. Jesus Christ came to give people the heart and mind of the Father. He was here to share God’s Secret to Success and empower God’s Beloved to reach the other side. Sin’s prison is a real place outside of Jesus Christ. It’s funny how the prison system is filled with “innocent” people. Many feel as though the details of their conviction were a big misunderstanding or are clearly in denial of wrongdoing at all, yet the reality of their crime is evident in the loss of their freedom. Many ordinary people live similar lives of denial every day living in “sin prisons” of the heart rather than experiencing the freedom of life in God’s Grace. There is no denying our guilt but there is an inner desire to improve and do better. Good intentions do not overcome our sinful nature. Jesus does. There are some Christians who have tried to follow God’s mandates for living for many, many years and still feel they keep falling short. People who decide to follow God but don’t really do it. Paul makes the declaration, “I need something more!” We cannot follow the Law of God in our sinful condition, we need help.
Romans 7:21-25 (MESSAGE)
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.
The sad truth is that outside of Eternity, we will never shake sin. It will be with us throughout our natural life. Just because you keep falling short of the life you strive to live for God – does not make you a failure…it makes you human. The Good News is that we have an advocate who will overcome sin in our life each day. Jesus Christ wants to be your partner in crime. He wants to take those bad decisions and turn them into good ones. The Lord desires to stick closer than a brother molding and shaping your life with God’s Goodness and Grace. He wants to fill you with the Knowledge of God to promote sound choices. Jesus will make miracles out of your mess. Your groaning will turn into testimonies of His Greatness. The secret is in partnership. The only escape from sin’s prison is Jesus Christ. We must cling to Him pressing into His Presence and living there. “He acts to set things right in THIS life of contradictions…” Though we continue to struggle with sin in this life Jesus is working on our behalf to set things right. Life with Jesus will give you peace in the midst of your battle! Don’t pick apart your life and shortcomings. It’s time to pick the right partner! Jesus will make all the difference in THIS world.