- Proverbs 3: 11 & 12
My [daughter], do not despise the LORD's discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the [daugher] he delights in.
There are the quiet whispers, "I am really angry with myself. My frustration is with myself. How long will I continue to hold myself back? Will I fail forever?"
Life is perpetually lived in the in between. So how do I live in the in between, enjoying the brief times of arrival and departure without giving into the discouragement of the overwhelming in between? I just want guaranteed step-by-step instructions. I just want to know I am doing this RIGHT. But that is missing the point. That is religion not relationship. And this relationship is EVERYTHING—or if I am really honest with myself, I WANT it to be EVERYTHING— to me.
- Romans 7: 14-25 [The Message]
"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."