As much as I read and write about theology and Christian living, I find myself in a place of wishing I could live up to half of what I find in Scripture. Every time I find a truth about the Holy Spirit, I feel woefully unable to walk in step with Him more. When I perceive the wondrous grace of what Jesus has done for us, I seem too weak to reorient my living and loving to reflect His life. And whenever I hear a convicting message on pray, I despair that I will ever get my prayer life in order.
What is this? Surely the point of God’s Word is not to make us feel trapped in the patterns we’ve been bound to? No, it should be liberating and empowering, bringing life with the power of the Spirit. So why so often doesn’t this change things? I’m not altogether sure, but I know one thing.
The problem is me.
I am the one who, upon being convicted to read Scripture more, instead pulls his smartphone out of his pocket all day. I am the one who, upon realizing he is in desperate need of more prayer with his Father, instead wastes time refreshing websites hoping for new content. And I am the one who, finding that he ought to take more mind of the interests of others, devotes himself to his own interests.
I imagine there are many of you who can relate, who get this. Really, it’s easier to admit behind a keyboard than to someone’s face. I don’t follow through. I quench the Spirit, neglect the Word, and hold back my love. Why? Why? Why? I don’t know, and I wonder. But I know that sin dwells in me, in my flesh, waging war with the Christ-conforming work of the Holy Spirit in me. Sin is remarkably powerful, but I also know that Christ is more powerful still. So why do things work as they do? I don’t know.
But what I do know is Christ. So that I am the real problem, He is the real solution, and since He has redeemed me and made me new, I trust confidently that His Spirit will make my life into His, and His life into mine. After all, what other hope is there?
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.