“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 the 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 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.