From the Kitchen Table
I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. 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? 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. Romans 7:14-25 msg
Don’t underestimate the strength of the skin. The Bible calls it our flesh, our sinful nature. It’s the house of our spirit this skin of our flesh. Our own skin can and will be our greatest enemy at times. When man sinned, he went from living from within, by the breath of God, to living from without in the appetites and attitudes of his flesh. The Bible says we were all dead in our trespasses and sins. Sin operates in the appetites and attitudes of our sinful nature. We can want to do what is good because our spirit, which is formed by God, is hungry for what is good and right and true but the sinful appetites and attitudes and even anxieties of our own skin overpower our will to do and be good. We need help and that’s what Jesus brings us. The Spirit of Jesus steps into our hearts and walks hand in hand with our spirit. But there is going to be some suffering as we chose to rule from the inside out and overcome the situation on the outside We will have to learn to starve the skin in the strength of God’s Spirit which lives in us. To know and do the will of God, which is powerful and pleasurable, we must turn the operation of this life over to the Spirit and learn to breathe the breath of God as we go. It’s a mystery but it’s marvelous.