“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” - Romans 7: 24-5 (NIV).
I grew up in a home with a pendulum clock stationed in the living room. Invented in 1625 by a Dutch scientist Christian Huygens these were famous for being the most accurate for time keeping. Indeed, they would claim that honor for 270 years until the emergence of the quartz clocks in 1927. Later, came the electric clocks in the 1930s and today few homes carry pendulum clocks for time keeping, except as antique items.
One thing I remember is that right at the top of the hour our clock would sound a bell, without fail. Another fascinating aspect was a harmonic oscillator which swung back and forth, with a ticking sound. The movement of that oscillator can in some ways also reflect our spiritual lives. How often do we see ourselves going back to things we once disavowed but yet are driven back in spite of our better self.
The Apostle Paul explains that as long as we are in the body we are in constant struggle with our flesh, often being tossed left and right. To amplify this point, Paul shared, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me “ (vv 23).
What the Apostle Paul was seeking to clarify is that our earthly spiritual lives can never be anything like perfect. We all know that is only Jesus who lived a perfect and sinless life while here on earth (Hebrews 4:15). For the rest of us even after accepting Christ because we live in the body our lives are at war as we struggle to please the Lord and yet every now and then are pulled hither and forth, like a pendulum swing, by our flesh’s desire. “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing” (vv 9).
It is here that Christians knows and speak of the power of grace. Everyone one of us needs grace because without it then one is left at the mercy of the law. And, yet in spite of all the efforts to live by the law man failed until Jesus came to substitute for the law (1 Peter 3:8)!
Today, may we place all our struggles on Jesus’s shoulders and walk tall redeemed by grace.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, just as the scriptures indicate I am wretched knowing how I keep tossing to and fro between good and wrong, yet I thank you for the grace of waking with Christ Jesus, in whose power I walk.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!