Wake Up Call

There was a point in my life (now about 11 years ago) where I exercised a decided act of the will to do God’s will and not my own. It was my wake up call. I moved from the nebulous, “Well, if God shows me His will then I will try to obey it”, that included the escape hatch of “try”, thus leaving room to not do it and be OK with that, and moved to the decided, settled and stable declaration of “not my will but Yours, Oh Lord, be done.”

Someone asked me the other day how I got to the new frontier of obedience and submission and I immediately answered, “Romans 7”. That is where I decided to quit being Lord of my life and make Him, by reckoning it so, Lord. You see, I always thought my “I will try” was making Him Lord, instead it was clearly leaving me room for disobedience and lack of faith, in fact, the very act of trying was ensuring my failure to do His will. True Faith, however, does not have any escape hatch. It doesn’t need one. Faith in Him trusts Him, believes Him and sees as possible and actual things which are not.

Romans 7 brought about a crisis in my life. As I have mentioned many times before, crisis is illustrated perfectly by the Chinese ideogram (i.e. picture-word) that depicts the picture for danger and the picture of opportunity alongside each other. That was where the Holy Spirit through Romans 7 led me — to a crisis. See if you relate to this at all:

“I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” part of Romans 7 from The Message

This is where many have fallen. They decide to do God’s will and then Sin (Self acting independent of God), in their members comes to ruin their plan. So what is Self’s counsel? “Try harder, you can do it.” This is exactly the wrong counsel and will lead you further and further into this trap and into deeper and deeper desperation.

Listen to what Paul discovered closer, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.” You can not live the Christ-life. You never could or it would be the YourName-Life, not His. Only He can live it! That is the whole point.

Here is what happens when you listen to your Self’s counsel. You begin to energize and puff up and expand the Flesh (the part that is opposed to the Spirit) and then head into a battle that you were losing before the Flesh was fully fueled and psyched for battle. Now you have just fortified and strengthened the very enemy you are wanting and needing to defeat. You will never gain a victory over an enemy that you are supplying the ammunition to defeat you.

In a nutshell, You are the enemy, your Flesh, your effort, your Self energized with your will to do and accomplish. Here is how it is put in another verse: “For the flesh lusteth [wars] against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Galatians 5:17.

In the Message it is put this way: “For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?” Gal. 5:17-18.

This was my wake up call. I hope that by the Holy Spirit it would be yours too. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Eph. 5:14.

Stop trusting your own thinking and feelings. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7.

If you truly love God and want to do His will you must quit going to your Self and asking you what you should do? If you do you are only working [warring} against the will of God for you. Go to Him and He shall direct your paths.