Here's my entry for the week:
On Monday, I decided that all 70 of you that are "following" me are crazy (don't worry, it's me, not you). Who would listen to someone like me? Don't you know that I struggle with things like anger, PRIDE, selfishness, self-righteousness, pettiness? Don't know you know that I can be quick to accuse, quick to defend, and slow to wait? Do you know there are times that I AM THE EXACT OPPOSITE of who Jesus wants me to be?
A battle raged on Monday. I struggled as I watched the war between my flesh and my spirit wage. I felt like Paul, as he wrote in Romans 7, I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. In The Message, Roman 7 begins the conclusion with this: 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?
There are days I feel immobilized, harnessed by chains that deliberately try to mask themselves as things that will bring me joy, sustenance, justice.
I need a glass of wine so I can unwind from this hectic, crazy day.
I need to vent about this situation to my friend so she can see what I have to put up with.
I need plant some seeds of guilt so she'll know she hurt me.
I need to act "put-upon" so he'll know how much work I REALLY do.
Here's the truth:
I don't ever want to need something to get me through a situation. Chain.
I don't ever want to discredit someone else just because I feel the need to be vindicated, nor do I want to be be about sowing anything that the devil can twist and turn as easily as guilt. Not only am I putting myself in the chains here, but possibly someone else.
I don't ever need to act. I can be real. Life is not about putting on a show. It's not about working the longest, the hardest. It's not about measuring up, balancing scales, or checking out time cards. It's really not about appearances at all and putting up a facade is really just another...chain.
I could be despondent right now. I've tried for so long. I've tried so hard. But these chains, even if they seem to loosen at times, they still remain. It seems as though one part of me knows what to do. This part knows how to glorify Jesus with my actions. It recognizes temptations. It sees the deliberate intention to lure me away from walking the right way. And yet, my flesh is weak.
Instead, though, I will choose not to despair. For Paul receives an answer to his question, Is there no one who can do anything for me?
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. (verse 25)
Jesus. Grace. Grace for me. Grace for you. Jesus for me. Jesus for you. The grace of Jesus breaks chains, restores relationships, eases anger, and defeats pride, all in spite of myself.