One of the most confusingly written (I feel) sections of Scripture has really been speaking to me lately. (I've finally condensed it and found the version that makes the most sense to me in my sleep-deprived, stressed-out brain.) I have had to read, and re-read, and re-re-read these verses, hammering them into my brain. Something that speaks to me (almost more than the verses themselves) is the man who wrote them. Paul, who is the author of many books of the New Testament, was an incredible follower of Christ. His life was incredible. The books that he was inspired to write speak to all aspects of life, then and now. It is amazing to think that Paul struggled with the same thing that I struggle with now- some 2 thousand years later. I love his wording- perhaps because it is so close to rambling--- and if you know me, you know that I ramble. Well, this blog will be the perfect example of rambling... cause I already am! Anyway, Paul writes exactly what is on his heart, and he doesn't spare any emotion or words, he lays it out, he is vulnerable and honest. As I read these verses, I can feel his frustration, I can picture him pulling his hair out, or rubbing his face with his hands; because that is what I want to do when I read them. These verses speak to me so deeply. I see my life, and there are things in it that I need to deal with, things that need to be kicked to the curb, and I know that, but I don't get rid of them; or when I do, I allow them to come back into my life after a while. These verses give me strength and peace... Here they are, I know it's long, but take your time, read it, it will speak to you:
Romans 7:14ff (New Living Translation)
For the trouble is not with the Law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, because I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. [...] I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't really want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. [...] I have discovered this principle of life- that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's Law with all of my heart! But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [...] For there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus! And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. [...] Those who are dominated by the sinful nature, think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit, think about things that please the Spirit. [...] YOU ARE NOT CONTROLLED BY YOUR SINFUL NATURE.
Thank you Paul for writing these words... I feel like they were written in a letter directly to me. Isn't it amazing how a book so old, with so many authors, written over so many centuries speaks directly to so many people, but is still so intimate when you read it? My Savior is so amazing... and His book is wonderful.