Can’t Stay Down
Here I am, in the place I repeatedly told myself I’d never be again. The same nagging feeling, though a little less sharp, gnaws at my heart. I look down at my hands and see them dripping from a bath of sticky, perpetual sin. I’ve tried and tried, prayed and prayed, but here I am, wearing the path deeper yet as I repeat the circuit of habit.
God has provided a way for you to escape. No temptation is to large – no circumstance obligatory. He will not give you more than you can bear. Stand up. Call on Him. Choose right and live.
The scary fact, though, is this: I know all of this and yet, I sin! I choose to transgress, to do the things that are contrary to God’s law all the while knowing that I am sinning! This is no idle ignorance. No, this is fickle frailty at its absolute finest. Even as the pleading of the Holy Spirit becomes fainter and fainter, I stand on the shore, as a sailor without a vessel, and look helplessly out to the horizon.
But I will never leave you or forsake you.
I don’t know – I kind of feel that I deserve to be forsaken. If I were me, I’d shut me down real fast. But, I guess that’s what “grace” is all about, right? I’m so thankful to have it, don’t get me wrong. I just can’t believe I’ve failed again. Turning my eyes inward, I try to determine the absolute depth of my heart, my being, and my soul. What are my motives? What do I want? Why doesn’t Christ seem to satisfy me and why do I continue to stray from His side? Breaths come faster, but the tears have long since dried up. I repent out of rote but on a different level of consciousness, I know that I should drop to my knees. Hands curl up into claws and I shriek out with Paul,
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Indeed. Who shall deliver me? Do I even want to be delivered? Silence rushes in and all I hear is my heartbeat, pounding out into the darkness. “Yes. Absolutely. Please. Help me.”
The struggle is age-old and familiar to all who have passed through the vivifying waters of the baptistery. One day, bright with promise of a fresh new life, the next, lost in a forest of temptation and indecision. Have I lost my way? Have I abandoned my Savior? This gap in the mindspace is a huge hurdle to cross. Specifically, I must come to a place where I acknowledge that I am helpless and poor, wretched and blind. Sin is running rampant through my body like a virus.
For I know that in me (that is, my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good, well, that’s another story. For the good that I desperately want to do, I don’t do. Instead, it’s the evil that I don’t want to do that I am doing all the time. Now, I realize that if I do the things that I don’t want to do, it is not really me that does these things but sin that dwells in me.
I’ve found that the law is the standard that clearly shows me that even when I’m attempting to do good, evil is present within me. Make no mistake, I delight in the law of God, and hold it in my heart. But, I see another law in my body, waging war against the law of my mind. It brings me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my body.
Romans 7:18-23, my paraphrase
What a shock it is to realize that I’m not as “good” as I imagined myself to be. Humbled, sobered, quieted, I exhale and acknowledge, once again, for the millionth time, that I can’t do this alone.
I. Need. Jesus.
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Where else I can I turn but to the one I continually take advantage of? The truth is that I have no other option. I must turn and live. I yearn to be on better terms with Him, though, to run into His arms without feeling so much shame. But, for now, I know that He is there and He is with me and I must pick myself up and keep on going. I can’t stay down – I can’t accept defeat. I will probably be here again, but I must continue to strive.
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”