Tuesday, February 27, 2007
What is it about Mondays? You think, "OK, it's the start of a new week, a fresh start to do the things I know I should." Maybe your day even starts good. But somehow, good intentions almost always give way to getting stuck in that old rut again. Not only in the physical world, but the spiritual as well. I know that everyday is constant battle with the spirit and the flesh. I just wish it wasn't such a battle on Mondays. On Sundays, I'm at church almost all day. I get "spiritually pumped." Then, on Mondays, I try to put into use what I learned on Sunday and then splat...I've tripped and fallen. But as I am sitting here tonight, I am reading Romans 6 & 7, about the old & new man.
When I think of Paul, I think of a super-saint. Look at all that he did for the spreading of the gospel of Christ, all that he sacrificed for his love of God, obeying until the end. I think we all stand back and look at Paul with awe thinking, "I could never be as strong of a Christian as he was." Sometimes, I think Paul's little pinkie toe had more spirituality than I have in my whole body. But, as I read into chapter 6 & 7, it reminds me that Paul was human.
In chapter six, he is telling us that we were born servants of sin. We obeyed our master, serving sin. Yet, "so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death." [Rom. 6:3] With His death, we died as well, "knowing this that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed." [Rom. 6:6a] It doesn't mean that we will never sin again once we are saved, but now we are no longer servants to sin, "that henceforth we should not serve sin." [Rom. 6:6b.]
Paul goes on to say that we are not under the law anymore, but grace. "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." [Rom. 6:14] But he also says that the law shows us our sin. "I had not know sin, but by the law." [Rom. 7:7] We see our sins in the law, but now when we break the law, we no longer have to pay the penalty. The penalty was paid for by grace.
Now, as a servant of Jesus, we have the choice to obey Him & His commandments, or sin. He even asks us to "yield your members[body] servants to righteousness unto holiness." [Rom. 6:19] Problem is, although we are no longer the servants of sin, we still have a sin nature in us.
So, how does all this go back to reminding me that Paul was human? Well, even Paul admitted to his sin nature. "But I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." [Rom. 7:14 - 25]
Paul, like myself and any other Christian, had a constant battle with the flesh & the inward man. God gave us the gift of choice. With that choice comes certain responsibilities. He doesn't want us to obey Him because we must and that's that. He loves us so much that He wants us to obey Him because we love Him as well. He also gave us the gift of grace. When we do sin, choosing not to obey Him, the grace of Jesus still covers us with the free unmerited love and favor of God.
I am reminded that yes, Paul sinned too. He didn't use grace as an excuse to sin. He fought the battle between his flesh & inward man. But he also reminds me that instead of looking to a man as an example, I need to look to Christ as my motivation & guide in my daily battle with the flesh. He looks at me, inside me & sees my weaknesses. Surprisingly, He still loves me for all my faults. He tells me all through His Word that, "Yes, I know you will battle with sin; even I was tempted. I will be there to pick you up, dust you off & set you back on your way, each & every time you fall, because I have such a love for you. But I give you the choice...to let me pick you up & show you in love what you did wrong, or to stay in the dusty rut, a place where I cannot be with you. It's your choice...will you let Me fight the battle with you?"
So, even when I feel high on the mountain on Sunday, & yet I sin & fall into the old rut on Monday, as long as I know I have Someone waiting to pick me back up if I would only ask Him, Monday doesn't seem so bad afterall.