Paul, from the New Testament of the Bible is speaking the words of my soul right now. Well, he spoke them long ago but because God’s word is living, it might as well be as if he was speaking right to me, about me.
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?Romans 7:17-24 MSG
My struggle is healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle. I know all the right things to do. I decide to do them, and then I don’t. I decide what not to eat, and then I eat it. I plan and intend to work out or exercise but then I don’t do it. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
And the question, Is there no one who can do anything for me? The hopelessness. The disgust for myself. The shame. All wrapped up in my desire to do better and failure to do so.
The answer, of course, is Jesus. This blog post is heavy in God’s word because it’s speaking to me. It’s calling to me. It’s forgiving me and promising hope and change.
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 MSG
“A continuous, low-lying black cloud” is exactly what it feels like I live under much of the time. But Jesus. But Jesus says there is a new power in operation. That there is freedom from sin, from the wrong choices, from the lifetime of failure.
He goes on to say in verse 4 that instead of doubling our own efforts of will power, efforts in yourself, that we can simple embrace what He, what Jesus, is doing in us.
I know I am meant for more than what I am living right now. More than migraines and joint pain and headaches, and feeling exhausted. God wants us to have an abundant life. He is working that out in us, but we need to embrace it and join in, rather than fight against it, trying to use our own power! Less of self, more of Him!
Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life.
It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!Excerpts from Romans 8:5-11
God’s spirit is in me, living, breathing, healing, restoring as much as I allow. It’s time to step out of the way and let God work. It’s time to stop giving it MY all and let Jesus DO it all.
So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!Romans 8:12-14 MSG
I love the way this verse puts it – give the old life and old ways a decent burial and get on with the new life.
I write this with hope and also with despair. These verses give me hope. Even PAUL of the bible struggled with his own sin weaknesses and had to rely on God to get him through. I am normal. Sin grabs ahold of us in many different ways, but it grabs hold and doesn’t want to let go. We struggle and fight and intend to do better and often fail – though our sins maybe be different, the feelings we go through, our struggles to DO better are the same. And there is only one answer – Jesus. And that gives me hope.
But I still despair over whether I can hand over the reigns. How many times have I tried to get healthy? How many times have I BLOGGED about starting a new healthy chapter and failed? It’s embarrassing. Shameful. And what if I fail this time, too?
But Paul. This amazing man who wrote, through God’s spirit, much of the new testament…. he struggled too. He tried and he failed over and over again, also. But he kept getting up and giving it to God. And He was willing to blog, ahem, write about his struggles. He put it all out there in order for others to know they are not alone. To give answers to the heartfelt cry of “Is there no one who can help me?” For thousands of years later, to have a small time blogger read the words of hope in Jesus. To find the answer to overcoming sin. To get the courage to get up and try again.
So, I’ll share again, how I’m getting up again, and how God, through Paul, was able to encourage me this night and into the coming year. One day I will have victory. Now, to learn how to get more hands off – way less of me and much more of God in this journey!