2013-03-01 - Good Company
Romans 7:24 O unhappy and pitiable and wretched man that I am! Who will release and deliver me from [the shackles of] this body of death? (AMP)
Do you struggle to do the things you want to do that are pleasing to the Lord and constantly find yourself at war with "appetites and wills of the flesh"? Read verse 23 just before the verse shown above. The mighty Apostle Paul lived with these same struggles as you and I do. He spends a good deal of time and ink very clearly spelling this out in the early chapters of Romans. Nobody gets a free ride here - male or female, young or old, rich or poor. The verse above sounds like a very frustrated individual making a personally painful point. If you can not identify with the statement made then I would like to meet you.
Here is the good news. Paul knew he had a struggle on his hands and it mattered to him. This in contrast to notable characters in the Bible and throughout history. Sampson comes to mind. He saw a woman and told his mother and father - "Get her for me for she is right in my eyes." (Judges 14:3b) Sampson made himself the final authority against the standard of God on multiple levels. If Sampson knew he had a problem it didn't seem to concern him at all. He did what was right in his own mind.
If you know you are in the middle of a struggle like Paul then you are in very good company. You are far from alone. Here is part two. The longer you walk with Jesus the more aware you will become of shortcomings (yes, sin) in your life. It will become slowly clearer how we fall short of the perfection that the law would demand of us.
Rom 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. (NASB)
This is the next piece of good news. While we struggle with our flesh, our old nature, we serve God with our mind that is being renewed every day as we with with God. The fact that we struggle against this old nature shows that there is spiritual life in you. Be encouraged! Serve God with your whole heart, mind and strength. The battle may never end as we live this mortal life. Keeping your heart and mind on things that are pure and worthy of praise will help. (Phil 4:8)
Lord - You know our struggles, and you know our hearts. Teach us to focus on You and the good things You provide as we walk through this world that wars against us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,