I get many things in my electronic inbox. Some are worthy of deletion on sight, some are worthy of reading, and some are worthy of passing along.The following came to me several weeks ago from a local pastor acquaintance of mine, Pastor Steve Sabol. It, like many of his e-mails, is worthy of passing along. Because many of us do not have email, I elected to pass this one along via the Calvary Connexion. Enjoy.
“I have in my possession this letter from a struggling and frustrated brother in Christ. See if you can relate to the cry of his heart…
‘…If I know the will of God, but still can’t keep it, and if the power of my Shadow 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, my Shadow 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?’
Now for the surprise… Those words come to us via the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, chapter 7:17-24. Wow! The author of 13 books of the New Testament, the performer of incredible miracles, and yet he struggled so with his Shadow. Did he give up? Was he fatalistic? Hardly! He finished his lament with these words…
‘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 my Shadow to do something totally different.’ (Romans 7:25)
You and I can find the same place of grace, confidence and hope that Paul found 2,000 years ago, if we place our dependence on God’s supernatural power and not our own will power. You and I HAVE failed, and often! But let’s look at those failures as practice shots, not death blows. Step up to the plate, the game is still on.”
Amen, Steve. This is a life still being lived, a fight being fought, a goal for which we are still striving. It’s not over, and our Shepherd is not finished with us yet. Grateful for his forgiveness and depending upon him, we press on toward the mark.