Resistance is Futile

I try to fight stuff.  I do.  Sometimes I win, but often I don’t.  But I was thinking about it, and it seemed to me that the times I don’t are the times my focus is not in the right place.  Kind of like focusing too much on the problem, and not enough on the solution.

An example would be the problem I mentioned a while back about food, or my diet.  However you want to say it.  What I would do would be to focus on the food itself.  What I could have.  What I could not, or should not have.  And eventually, what I could not have would take the place of what I could in my thinking. 

I would stress out and obsess about it, but I would not think about what would actually help.  

Making Jesus the focus, rather than trying to lean on my own strength–or weakness, depending on how you look at it.  I wonder now how much less difficult it would have been to “trust in the Lord, and lean not on my own understanding.”

My tendency is to try and fight battles like that on my own.  I lose them.

Or maybe lust could be the problem.  If you’re struggling with pornography, for example.  Or maybe, as a believer, you’re trying to adhere to biblical abstinence (and that works the same for a man or woman, I believe).   Or it could be alcohol, or drugs.  These things, especially, I think people are inclined to try and fight on their own.

Not surprising, really.  These things are embarrassing.  Lacking self-control is embarrassing.  And really, it should be easy to not….indulge, shouldn’t it?  In whatever the vice, whatever the sin.

But it isn’t easy at all.

It’s tough.  And since I always try and fight these fights alone, it’s just that much tougher.  I focus on the battle.  I focus on the problem.  I miss the solution.  I think a lot of people do.

We miss God in all of it.

I think the solution is that we need to look a little higher than the earth, and that often isn’t the case at all. We need to look beyond our stomachs, or thirsts, or “needs” for chemicals, or our libidos.

We need to look beyond ourselves for answers.

We need to look to God first.

To God.

Not that it will make everything easy, because it won’t.  But if we have a loftier focus than the earth, if we

Turn our eyes upon Jesus

then the things of earth really will grow strangely dim, or at least dimmer.

And we’ll be able to see. 

And be helped.

And fight.

And win.

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Grace is enough

Some days I don’t feel much like a new creation.

Probably everyone who believes has those kind of days–days where you feel subject to your base, primal urges, instead of having them be subject to you, and to God.  Or maybe I’ll just get really angry at someone in traffic, or in line at the grocery store.  You know what I mean?  There’s always going to be someone who cuts you off, or who brings 37 items into the express lane.

My first response to these people is always anger, and never grace.  At the least, I want to yell at them.  I want to try and make them understand they’re an idiot, and I’ve been horribly inconvenienced.

I don’t do it, but I want to.

The injustice of it all.

And it feels like simply wanting to do those things is sin.  It is.

If God knows my every thought, and numbers the hairs on my head (well, he did when I had hair.  Maybe he counts my eyelashes now), then wouldn’t he know that I want to do a flying sidekick into some old lady’s face in Albertsons because she didn’t start making out her check before she got to the cash register?

Of course he would.

Or how about if or when I spot some attractive young woman walking on the street and let my mind wander for a second?  Or think about being intimate with a significant other?

While it’s true that the former potential situation feels more sinful than the latter as I write it, both of them actually feel that way sometimes, depending on the context.

The truth is that there are certainly untold number of situations that could or would feel sinful, and when I’m in them, I feel miles from God.  I don’t feel like a new creation.  I don’t feel cleansed by the blood of Christ. 

I feel dirty as hell.  I feel tainted by the world.

 

                  (…..What can wash away my sin?
                           Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
                                     What can make me whole again?
                                                Nothing but the blood of Jesus….)

But the Word promises that isn’t the case, if I know Jesus.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[i] through faith in his blood.” Romans 3: 23-25

He was sacrificed, for my atonement.  He IS sacrificed for my atonement.  Daily, His blood makes me clean, even when I don’t feel that way.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Romans 6: 1-4

Live a new life.  I get to live a new life.  I want to live a new life, subject to the will of God, and not to sin.

and then this, from 2 Corinthians 17-21:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

We might become the righteousness of God? 

Imagine that.