Picture this: you wake up in the morning determined to be the best christian you can be. You spend time praying and meditating on some scriptures. Your mind and heart are at peace. It is going to be a good day! Today is the day you go a full day being the perfect godly christian and then the phone rings. On the other end of the phone is one of God’s creation sent to test your patience. By the time you are done talking, you are seething with anger and resentment and the peace you had before has been replaced by a volatile emotional volcano. Amidst this feeling of anger, you feel discouraged and dismayed. You could not even make till lunch and already you are out of character and bent out of shape. You no longer feel so so godly because you’re so angry at the person and angry with yourself because you could not contain your anger and be the bigger person.
This is me….most of the time. As we grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, we start to develop a certain degree of Christian character. We begin to grow in areas such as truthfulness, kindness, patience, humility, and purity. The Holy Spirit works actively on our conscience to help convict us of things that are not morally upright. The problem however is that we do not always act consistently with our character (Jerry Bridges). We tell a lie or allow ourselves to get caught up in juicy gossip. We get angry and in the moment, think or say unkind things to others. Then we get disappointed and dismayed with ourselves because our actions are inconsistent with the character that God is building in us.
Paul, the great apostle Paul, found himself in this conundrum on several occasions. In his despair he said,
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out… I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do. […] So this is the principle I have discovered: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s Law. But I see another law at work in my body, warring against the law of my mind and holding me captive to the law of sin that dwells within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:18-25 Berean study Bible
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord? Why does Paul say this? Does that mean there is hope for me to get out of this dilemma I constantly find myself in? The answer is YES!!!!
God knows that by myself I would never be able to get out of this destructive cycle so he helped me out by
…sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful man, as an offering for sin. Romans 8:3 Berean Study Bible
I am encouraged because I have a mediator who fully understands my struggles and so when He intercedes for me I know that he truly understands. Whats more, He offers guidance through His Word so I can break free of the cycle. He also gives me His strength in those times when I am powerless over my anger, over impure thoughts, over gossip and backbiting so I can overcome.
I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
But sometimes I wonder what He can do through me
No great success to show
No glory of my own
Yet in my weakness He is there to let me knowHis strength is perfect when our strength is goneHe’ll carry us when we can’t carry on
Raised in His power, the weak become strong
His strength is perfect, His strength is perfectWe can only knowThe power that He holdsWhen we truly see how deep our weakness goesHis strength in us beginsWhere ours comes to an endHe hears our humble cry and proves againSteven Curtis Chapman
You can overcome. Don’t give up. His strength is perfect and available. Be intentional in asking for strength this week.