Words of Worth

The Tug o’ War

March 8, 2013

UnknownFor the past several weeks, our Wednesday morning Bible study has been immersed (and sometimes drowning!) in the book of Romans – specifically the 8th chapter.  We’ve discussed condemnation, justification, sanctification and a bunch of other big ole heavy “church” words.  But at the end of each lesson and truly, at the end or rather the beginning of every day the question remains:  “Now what?”  In other words, what does living a sanctified life look like?

Does it mean I instantly become holy?   Do I suddenly have a halo and an unending supply of patience and kindness and love for all mankind?  Will I be full of goodwill and unselfish thoughts and actions?  As much as I would love for this to be the case, what we’ve learned is that sanctification is a long process and Christian growth can sometimes be very gradual.  With God’s help and guidance, we start down the path we know we are supposed to travel, but we stumble occasionally.  Paul sums it up this way in Romans 7:15

“I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it.  Instead, I do what I hate.”

I can relate to that, can you?  The struggle between the flesh and the spirit is all too real for me.  That’s why my daily tug o’ war sends me DAILY to the Word of God.  It’s comforting to know the men and women in the Bible fought the same impulses I do.   In fact, one of the most famous and greatest leaders in church history, one of the disciples closest to Jesus, denied Him in public.  Peter’s enormous failure is recorded in Scripture for the entire world to see.  I’m very grateful all my failures aren’t that visible!

This month to prepare for Easter, we have suggested you read the book “King’s Cross” by Timothy Keller.  It’s an intimate look at the life of Jesus based on the Gospel of Mark. Many scholars believe it’s the eyewitness testimony of Peter – the same Peter who said, “I will never deny you!” but did before the very next morning.

God uses all kinds of people to do His work and we all have one thing in common.  We are not perfect – in fact, we are quite broken.  We want to behave better but we need to believe better.  There’s even a tug o’ war to believe better and like the man in Mark chapter 9, we say, “I believe!  Help my unbelief!”  What a struggle but oh, what a Savior! It gives us great hope to study the life and actions of Jesus and see He is:  “unpredictable but reliable, gentle yet powerful, authoritative yet humble, human yet divine.”  (Tim Keller, King’s Cross)

If you find you are stumbling more than you are walking these days, fix your eyes on Jesus.  He knows our struggles and stands ready to help us get back on our way.  (ct)

“After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again.  Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself, but just this power of always trying again.  For however important any virtue may be, this process trains us in the habits of the soul which are more important still.  It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God.”   C S Lewis




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