In my last blog: “My Greatest Lesson Learned of 2013”, I shared that I had come to the realization that I had frequently proclaimed truth, devoid of it being set on a foundation of love, thus, making said proclamation of truth… void. In other words, as a result of proclaiming truth without love, I actually voided said truth.
Believe it or not, whenever I proclaimed truth without love, I actually recognized it, and then got convicted. I would beat myself up after, wondering why I did it. It was a vicious cycle: meaning to do good, then not doing good, then conviction, then self deprecation. In Romans 7, Paul expresses this same dilemma, which he also faced within himself:
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
I did the same thing. I wanted to do what I should do, but I didn’t, yet I knew it. It’s very frustrating, this war going on inside of us (Christians).
I remember reading Romans 7 for the first time, soon after becoming a Christian. I was like, “WHOA!” That chapter is so relatable and relevant to every brother or sister who ever lived. We all have that same battle. We all beat ourselves up from time to time regarding our sin. We even sometimes take it to the extreme: thinking that our short comings actually define who we are, allowing the war inside of us to get the better of ourselves; which then leads us to self condemnation, and a misidentifying of ourselves by our sin; when our identity is actually in Christ. At such moments we need to repent and return to our Lord, not relent and retreat from Him.
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, in a recent podcast while talking about our identity in Christ, says that, “our identity is in His substitution, not our sin.” He then rhetorically asks:
“How many of us focus on our condemnation and burden ourselves, instead of focusing on Christ?”
“The gospel not only frees you from what other people think of you, but it frees you from what you think of yourself.” – Pastor Tchividjian, quoting a friend
Paul finishes his thought:
“Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
Until we are glorified, so our state will be. The battle will rage on within us. However… be encouraged!
Our identity, brothers and sisters, is now Christ, not us.
1 Peter 2:9
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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