15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:15-25a)
I have been thinking about a friend of mine who struggles with schizophrenia. They had a major breakthrough where God revealed what He wanted to do in their life. Before it was like there was a block in their understanding that finally has been penetrated by the light of God’s word. When walking on the road to deliverance; things that have been a part of our life for many years have become like, old companions, old friends. Deep down we know for freedom we need to release those things from our life and move on. When we find freedom from the bondage to our old sin nature, those old companions; habits that existed for rationalizing and protecting the destructive behavior try to crop backup. They try to pull us into relapse. If we stumble the enemy of our soul is right there screaming in your ear, “You have failed; why try for you are nothing but a failure.” But God is always right there reaching out to stand us back up and encourage us to try again.
18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land. (Isaiah 1:18-19 NIV)
God wants us to learn how to fall forward if we fall. It’s like running or climbing stairs, when become tired or even trip we want to lean forward. Then we fall to our hands and knees. When we regain our strength we get back up and press on. If we fall backwards we tumble down and are usually devastated by major injury. We all have struggles and weaknesses that can cause us to slip or encounter inner turmoil. When they come we need to press forward into His presence where we can reason through our issues with His help. We can have our wounds cleansed and be healed. If we fall backward or give up we suffer major devastation.
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9 NIV)
It’s this constant interaction in a mentoring relationship between us and our Heavenly Father that keeps us succeeding. God is there with any life learning process both emotionally and spiritually. When we fail or struggle God draws us to Himself and pours out his grace and mercy into our lives. But he always wants us to come and to never stop coming.
6 He gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6-8 NIV)
When rebellious desires, weaknesses and struggles come to oppose our growth and trust in God; just keep coming and the grace will be poured out to strengthen and empower us.
But where sin increased, grace increased all the more. (Romans 5:20b NIV)
14 Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. 15 We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. 16 So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. (Hebrews 4:14-16 the Message)