“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 called 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 pendulum clock would sound a bell, without fail. Another fascinating aspect was a harmonic oscillator which swung back and forth, with a ticking sound. Now, the movement of that oscillator can in some ways also reflect our spiritual lives. How often do we see ourselves going back and forth, 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 had failed until Jesus came to substitute for the law (1 Peter 3:8)! It is on whose shoulders we place all our struggles and failures, receive full forgiveness, and then walk 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 that we find through faith in Christ Jesus, in whose power I walk.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!