I know I blogged about this issue a little in the past, but this is a new spin on it…
I was at this banquet last night with my fiance, and I hated myself. That was mostly because I kept checking out all these girls who were walking by in really nice evening gowns. Now, I love my fiance, I think she’s the sexiest person in the world. But sometimes my eyes are just involuntary when it comes to sensory stimulation, if you know what I mean.
And I hate that, because that’s disrespectful to her. I mean, it’s not like I was staring and drooling and dropping my food or anything, but I was still disrespectful to her. And it’s not like she got upset with me or we argued…the topic never came up in our conversation. But I still was very displeased with myself.
Paul talks about our two natures competing with each other as Believers. I mean, what he calls “the flesh,” meaning what our bodies want to do (and with guys, that can always be narrowed down to one thing), and what the Spirit wants us to do. That’s the Spirit of God that’s with us as Believers, the One that Christ promised would be present with us. He manifests Himself in different ways…sometimes people experience visions, sometimes they speak in tongues, sometimes, as is the case with me, there’s usually just a “tug” deep inside that’s pulling me certain direction, and I know it’s Him. It’s always gentle with me, a “this is what you really need to look at doing” type of thing.
But last Sunday one of things that was spoken about, and that I’ve been kind of unpacking ever since, was this idea of the two natures competing with each other…our flesh, and His Spirit. Paul talks a lot about it in a lot of his letters, but one of the letters that always springs to mind for me is Galatians. In 5:18, he says that “But if you are lead by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (NASB). My pastor mentioned that one last weekend, and it’s kind of stayed with me. What he said, though, was that if you’re looking at this verse through the Law, you’re seeing it the wrong way. It’s talking about the Mosaic Law, that the people of that time were expected keep in a rigid way. After Christ, it remains with us an ethical guide, but not a law code. God frees us from that as Believers. The point: we don’t have to live with guilt any more. We can press onward to the future, under His power.
That’s really cool, because I know I can keep going, and try to do better at keeping my eyes in my head next time. Or keeping the language from getting too nasty next time. Or whatever the problem may be.
He’s a God of second, third, and many more chances. I’m so grateful for that, because I usually use all of them before I get it right. Typically, I don’t get it right, I just come closer.
Someone asked me once if its possible to be a Believer and still do things “wrong” in your life. I said absolutely. Being God’s child isn’t a checklist of things to do, it’s a heart attitude, a belief in Jesus that moves beyond the logical. That heart attitude will make you want to do things right. But He knows that we can’t, and He never expected us to be perfect.
Unfortunately, we still expect ourselves to be perfect. And frequently, we run away from God because all we can think about is what we have to give up and how perfect we’ll have to be.
We just keep expecting ourselves to be perfect.
We really should stop that.