Powerful, strong Scripture ~ laying out a Truth we can hold on to in all seasons, in all circumstances!
Yet there is so much which distracts us in the world ~ so many things which gather our attentions and tickle our desires ~ as we see and feel everyday. So words like “besides You I desire nothing on earth.” give me a split reaction: one part of me cries out “amen and amen!” and the other sinks, thinking, “I am so far from being able to say that with any kind of truth!”
Is this your cry, too?
We’re in good company! The Apostle Paul shares this with us ~
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. (Romans 7:18~20)
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Lord regularly reminds me of a few things I easily lose sight of, when I get to sighing over how far off I am from following the Lord with all my heart:
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
My divided heart is no mystery or no surprise to God ~ and He still loves me (us) anyway! (see 1 Corinthians 13) If we continue hearing the wisdom of our friend the Apostle Paul, he reminds us:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
This also means my/our lack of (insert your personal favorite “failing” in walking with the Lord, or even your favorite list of “failings”) does not separate me or you from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. That is security and the foundation for peace and rest!
Another thing I lose sight of when my heart sinks because of my flesh is that I’m not in charge here when it comes to walking with the Lord through this process of becoming conformed to the image of Christ.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
…it is God Who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
It’s not that we have no part in actively walking with the Lord; the Word is clear about this as well:
But you, beloved, building yourselves upon your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy of some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. (Jude 20~23)
Yet walking with God ~ following the leading of the Lord ~ cannot be done in our own strength, either. Jesus Himself says to us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28~30) and also, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So when our hearts want to sink when we see ourselves as we are a bit, when we feel like we don’t measure up to some misunderstood standard, if we take our eyes off of ourselves and put them on to the Word, the Truth of God, we are uplifted again, like Peter on the sea with Jesus!
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.