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Friday, October 21, 2011

The Weakness of the Flesh

“For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” Rom. 7:19

It always amazes me how long it can take me to quiet down, to still my spirit, and to listen to God. Some days it never happens. My spirit, even in the morning, is so full of “stuff to do” in the day ahead that my conscious mind cannot rid itself of the clutter of a busy day. At times, it is a talk I am preparing, at other times it is an event I will be attending, but it is always something that gets in the way of breathing slowly and quietly with God into a new day. Most of us share this struggle. Our minds race ahead and there is little room for the Spirit of God to suggest something new.

Last night I was speaking with a young father who is a stay at home dad. While he is grateful for the privilege of staying home and happy to be with his children, he spoke about how his small children demand all his attention all the time, making it impossible for him to do the ordinary things he wants to do, even pray in a traditional sense. His story made me think again about the luxury I have most mornings to sit quietly, and to enter the day slowly and prayerfully, but how often I waste the privilege or so easily get distracted by what I have to do. In other words, I am just like Paul. I do not do the good I want to do, but get hijacked by my pride which compels me to work too intensely at preparing talks or even writing this blog. I will not allow myself to be embarrassed by the "me" that spends so much time in front of others explaining our faith or encouraging people to go more deeply into the life of the Spirit.

It must have been very humbling for Paul to write about not doing the things he wanted to do, but it is the admission of his helplessness that allows him to accept the grace of God that will do in him what gives glory to God despite his faults. As he reminds us, despite his inability to live in Christ by his own devices “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” (Rom 8:1) according to the power of the spirit.

In the end, all of this brings a smile to my face. Clearly, God has worked in me and us, especially when we least expect it, and in ways we could never imagine on our own. We are in God’s world, not our own, and the simple willingness to let God do God’s work in us is enough.

Today smile at how good God is and be grateful for the all the good God has done in and through you despite your faults and sins.

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