This is not a cry for help but some thoughts and some statements of reality. I print it here in hopes that my attempt at transparency some of you might relate and be blessed by the scripture that follow: Someday I want to get all the plates spinning at the same time. Someday I just hope I can have it all together. Finances, weight management, time with family, preaching quality-life changing sermons that connect: I’ve been doing this thing called life as an adult for about 30 years now and while I’m blessed beyond anything I deserve I know myself and while I am often content and happy I’ve never been at a place where I thought I had all of these things under control at the same time.
I’m not suicidal or even depressed, in fact I’m at a good point. I’m at one of those points that I’m hitting on 7 or 8 cylinders but it is at those times that sometimes I am most clearly brought face to face with the reality that I strive to live “in the Spirit” but I am still “In the flesh.”
This got me to thinking about Romans 7:24. I heard a guy say that Paul was talking about his life before Christ, but I checked it. It's present tense "that I am" - this was an ongoing struggle for him and he needed to keep remembering that his hope was in Christ.
I looked it up and then checked it in about five versions. The Message was sharp - I do always remember it is just a paraphrase - more of a commentary on the text. But as that it is strong here:
Romans 7:17-25 ”...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.”
Worship: I need to worship God the Father, Son and Spirit and be reminded of His greatness in my weakness and the comparison of the two and the reminder that His strength is seen vividly in my weakness. Too often people have made worship about an issue - I imagine that makes satan rejoice for it takes the focus off God. Isaiah 6.
Spiritual disciplines - prayer, study, fasting. Jesus assumed these would be a part of the life of His people (Matthew 5-6). For me I can spot it when my prayers become lists of names or torts of "sameness" before a meal or such and not pouring my heart and hurts and happiness before God.
Physical disciplines - sleep, eat. These are hard for me. I love being with good people so much and that often happens over a table of good food and better sweet tea. So I have to discipline myself. When I don't do that I am chemically imbalanced and it leads to easy fatigue and just feeling bad. I often overcommit which leads to my lack of sleep. that strange thing is that when/if I sleep I am much more productive.