Sometimes it’s so hard being a Christian. (Of course, it’s harder not knowing Jesus or getting to follow Him, but that line of thinking only makes it harder to feel sorry for myself.) So many times, I want to do what I know is right. I want to act like Jesus, I want to speak like Jesus, I want to love, forgive, hope, and pray like Jesus. And, so many of those “so many times”, I don’t do any of those things. I live for myself, I think about myself first, I protect myself, and dream of what I think is best for me. Paul talks about all of this mess in Romans 7, which is in today’s Amazing Race reading. He’s as confused about it as I am. But as He goes on in chapters 8 and 9, he talks about when we have the Spirit alive in us, that we are given the power to live for Jesus.
Ok, I see that. But why then is it STILL so hard to do the right things? If we’ve moved from dark to light, bad to good, evil to Jesus, why do we, why do I, still struggle? No, seriously, this part of following Jesus drives me nuts! I want to have it all move to good, all the time. As someone who loves Jesus, I really, truly, desperately want to be just like Him. I’m convinced His way is best, I believe He knows better than I do, I hear His voice tell me how to live and what to do. But, somehow, I still choose to go my own way. Stubbornly, selfishly, destructively go my own way. Why?
Why does it have to be this way? I want a different system. I read in Romans 8 that if Jesus is for me, then who can be against me? I’ll tell you who… me. I am against me so much of the time. I want it to be over. To be free.
The only comfort I have in this is Paul’s discussion in Romans 8:22 ff where he gets into the whole “waiting in childbirth” example. He says that “… in this hope we are saved.” This hope for something more, something better, something truly free. That’s the challenge, the struggle of this world. We have met the King, the Prince who brings Freedom. We see touches of His power, we hear whispers of His voice, we feel the hope of his love and care. But we are not yet completely free. Not in the sense that we will be one day. We have to fight. Fighting is hard. It’s tough. It hurts. It gets tiring.
But it is our calling. Fight the good fight today, love everyone around you, and hold on for tomorrow. While the Kingdom of God is here, Jesus says, it’s coming tomorrow in an even better way. So, yes, we fall. Alot. We come up short of even what we want to be as Jesus’ followers. Just don’t quit. Don’t stop. One foot in front of the other, and we will get there.
Ok, I can do that. I’ll keep moving. And hoping. The freedom is coming. I can just feel it.