Victorious Wrenched Man

Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord!     Romans 7:24-25


I love Thy Church, O God,
Her walls before Thee stand.
But please excuse my absence, Lord
This bed is simply grand.

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
But Lord, expect no cash from me,
Thy Glory comes too high!

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follower of the Lamb?
Yes, though I seldom pray,
I still insist I am.

Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No! Others, Lord, should do their part,
but please don’t count on me.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Loud my hymns of praise I bring,
Because it doesn’t cost to sing.

Too often this poem really does reflect the kind of battle that goes on within us – and it is the thought expressed in today’s Epistle as well.

Romans 7 is a chapter which I am most grateful for.  Here is St Paul, writer of half the New Testament, a tremendous worker and witness for Christ, who knew our Lord most intimately (he apparently had visions and such encounters with Jesus besides his Damascus Road experience) – here St Paul sits down across the table, shakes his head, and says, You know, being a Christian is tough stuff.  I really get bogged down.  I’ve got some of my own hang-ups that just won’t lie down and die.  I can have such plans on what I will do and should do for the Lord, and they fall apart on me.  I try to avoid the things I shouldn’t be doing, when suddenly I realize I’m already right in the middle of doing them.

What is the dosage pattern for levitra uk? There is a plenitude of bland medicines. There are literally hundreds of websites out there in the world. This is because they don’t want to lose their respect and manhood in brand cialis 20mg the eyes of their partner and other people may not indentify this disease easily. Nearly 90% of cases have underlying physical problems, which may include – High blood pressure High blood cholesterol Diabetes Hormonal imbalance Sleep disorders Prostate enlargement Parkinsonism Multiple Sclerosis Depression Anxiety Stress Smoking sildenafil price Alcoholism Bad effects of certain medicines These causes can give rise to severe health issues and you can even danger your life. How I appreciate Paul saying that!  One of Satan’s greatest tools is to make us think that we are alone in the world, and that no one could ever possibly understand what we are going through.  How effective this ploy is!  How often my faith is defeated, my resolve shattered, how I feel like such a failure – and since no one else seems to be as bad as I, I guess I must be the worst Christian ever.  How disappointed God must be with me!  Christianity no longer holds any joy, and the godly life becomes an elusive mirage on the horizon.

Now here comes Paul, who sits down beside me and says, Boy, do I have trouble living a Christian life!  Suddenly I realize I’m not alone, and a terrible burden lifts from me.  It’s reassuring to hear that one of the greatest Christians of all time had problems.

This doesn’t excuse me – if I do something wrong, it’s wrong.  And if I don’t do what is right, I stand equally as condemned.  But this gives me perspective – I’m not weird; I’m not strange; I’m just merely, but significantly, human, just like Paul, just like everybody else.  I realize that whatever happens in life can be dealt with – God has been handling all this since Adam and Eve, dealing with all sorts of humans like me, and forgiven them all – I will never send Him screaming out the door in shock because of what I am like.  In fact, I am reminded that I am just TOO human, too much like the world around me, not showing enough that I am distinct and separate from the world.

Having gotten me this far, Paul doesn’t merely drop me.  This is where I argue with the psychological philosophies of today.  God doesn’t just want to make me feel better – He wants to HEAL me.  I feel better that I now realize that I am not weird, or strange, or terrible, but that I am capable of being understood, and being accepted, and being forgiven, in spite of all my failings and shortcomings.  But the Lord wants me to grow and go beyond, because even here Satan wants me to think that I need not try to be more Christlike; to think that this human condition even Paul complained about is therefore obviously OK to be this way, so I can relax, sit back and not bother.

Jesus leans real hard on that attitude in the Sermon on the Mount, that I must constantly monitor my actions, my way of life, my way of thinking.  Paul didn’t end today’s Epistle with a resigned, “Oh, well, isn’t that tough luck!” – no, it is the cry of frustration that should escape from our lips as well – the cry that earnestly desires the best for the Lord and frustration that much too often we just aren’t where we ought to be.

But even here, Paul isn’t beating us down to achieve what Satan would so desire, that is, disillusioned, disheartened and despairing Christians.  Paul has purpose throughout this whole confession, and that is to get our eyes off of our failing, our own efforts, our own abilities and intentions, and get our eye on where the answer must lie.  “O wretched man that I am.  Who will deliver me from this Body of Death?  Thanks be to God Who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

THERE IS AN ANSWER! – an answer to all our failings, to our intentions that went wrong, to all our hopes and plans that never seem to materialize in our Christian walk.  There is a victory – as sure as the victory of Good Friday, as sure as the victory of Easter morning.  There is an answer, every time Jesus, the God of the universe, comes in Person, in the flesh, in the bread and the wine.  THERE IS A VICTORY.

You see, God has such power and such life within His forgiveness, that every time you have contact with Him and His promises, every time in repentance you are willing that He will touch you and your life, you just have to go away changed and different.  True, you may not understand or even recognize the difference yet – but it is there – it has to be, because the touch of God’s hand cannot be ignored.

He will open doors of blessing, He will open treasures of His power and His love within your life, He will open your abilities and strengths to new heights and depths, He will give you new understandings and perspectives, He will give you new values and consciousness of what is important, because He will now be right in the middle of your life.  Yes, there is victory, and therein lies the joy and hope and excitement of the Christian.

Wouldn’t you like to have that victory?  However, it is important to realize that our Lord, for His own reasons, chose not to make us instantly totally righteous, holy, and perfect the moment of our baptism.  Instead He intends to use our whole lifetime to grow a Christian out of each one of us – it sure isn’t the easiest way, to which we all can attest.  In fact, it can be downright frustrating at times when we end up with messes we have created.

But the struggle is the best way – the way our Father has chosen.  He thinks the struggle is worthwhile.  Perhaps in this way the lessons we learned become engraved deeply into our soul.  There are hard-won realizations we will value and treasure and oftentimes share with others who struggle.  Many times we will come to the point of seeing how His uncovering what we have tried to hide now makes us use His tools to handle such memories within His mercy, forgiveness, and steadfastness.  Ultimately the struggle will have brought us farther in our growth and closer to Him as we seek Him out, learn to depend on Him, and discover the richness of His fellowship.     .

On the other hand, our struggles are a great benefit to our fellow human beings.  When we are honest about ourselves, others recognize that we are not insulated from very human experiences, but rather along with Paul, we also wrestle with common frailties.  In very realistic terms others have the chance to see how we deal with God and how He deals with us.  They have the opportunity to see how we bring before the Lord a single problem, yet when He is done how wide and far-reaching are His solutions.  Most of all, they can observe the steadfast love, life and forgiveness which God makes available to each human who is willing to submit to His way.

How can we experience this victory?  If the victory comes through the touch of God in our lives, then logically we should seek that touch as often as possible.  The more contact, the more He will pour in His power, His love, and therefore His joy and His hope.  It means to make use of every way possible for Jesus to be part of your life – to crack open that Bible, read it, study it, get together with fellow Christians as often as possible to let God touch you through each other.  It means to gather in worship and to discover the uplift and even the mind change which can happen as we give the Lord His due praise.  More and more often come also to His Table with such a thirst and desire, craving the very personal and physical touch found in His Body and Blood.

Then read Paul’s following chapter, Romans 8, and find the amazing relationship and confidence which awaits you within this new spiritual environment.  Discover the wonder and hope into which you have been set; the freedom for you as you pass on by the temptations and hardships which surround you; the growing desire to answer the spiritual need in others for which you have a most wonderful solution; and the excitement of increasingly discovering how powerfully the Lord is involved in your life and using you as a necessary co-worker in His great plan of salvation.

As an experiment, take a waterglass and an eyedropper, put 168 drops of water into the glass.  Now add a drop of food coloring.  This represents how each hour of the week (168) are influenced by the one drop of Holy Communion and worship each week.  The mixture is quite pale.  Add another drop for every time you have contact with your Lord and Savior, whether in Prayer, reading the His Word, Bible study, or are in discussions with fellow Christians (after all, Jesus did say that where two or three are gathered in His Name, He is in their midst) – from the color of the water, now how much victory is likely to occur in your life?  Let’s do something about  it!

After all, God WANTS us to have victory – the cross demonstrates His eagerness for us to share in that victory, the force of His desire is that we experience all the richness for all the life He could possibly give us.  Come, give Him a chance – as He said, “Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” [Matthew 11:29-30]. Just think, you have already started today – here we are before the Lord and linked with each other as the People of God!!   Now give Him more time – add more color to your hours each week – and see that victory Paul declares is in store for us in the Name of Jesus.

Leave a Reply