I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ...For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it (Romans 7:15-20)
My NaBloPoMo commitment was challenged today, just ten days in. Why? I'm selfish and lazy--at least, that's the short answer.If you've talked to me at all in the last year, you've heard me say that my greatest challenge during this season of being a homemaker is time management--or lack thereof. Day after day, week after week, month after month...I come to the end of the day and feel discouraged, wondering where the hours went and knowing I didn't accomplish what needed to be done. Morning after morning (or unfortunately, afternoon after afternoon) I come to God again, asking for forgiveness for the same failures, asking Him to make this day different.
Often the end of the week brings unnecessary stress because it's crunch time--there are things that absolutely have to be accomplished by the weekend, and because I squandered so much time early in the week, I have much to do in a short amount of time. Such was the case this week. Today I found myself with an overly ambitious list of to-dos because of all the hours I have wasted so far. I almost didn't have time to post, and probably shouldn't even be taking the time now.
The fact is, I am selfish and lazy. There are plenty of hours in the day for me to accomplish what God sets before me, to minister to others and serve my husband. But I don't make choices that honor Him or Steve. Instead I make shortsighted, instant-gratification decisions. I worship idols of comfort and ease instead of magnifying my Savior. I hate this.
I have asked for grace to change, realizing that I continue to fail when left to my own strength. But for whatever reason, God has so far chosen not to enable me to have a good day. Or if He has given the grace, I have not been able to use it. Why? Jerry Bridges has some insight in his book The Discipline of Grace:
"Sometimes we don't sense that we are experiencing His strength. Instead we experience deep, agonizing failure. ...Why doesn't the Holy Spirit always strengthen us? The answer may be one or more of several reasons. He may be letting us see the sinfulness of our own hearts. or He may be causing us to realize how weak we are in ourselves and how dependent on Him we really are. Perhaps He is curbing a tendency toward spiritual pride and causing us to grow in humility. Whatever the reason, which we may never know, our responsibility is to utterly depend on Him. He sovereignly and with infinite wisdom determines how best to respond to our dependence."
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:21-24)
My only hope is the gospel. I dare not trust my own righteousness, my ability to obey. I do not want to claim cheap grace, but when I have failed yet again, all I can do is cling to His promises in Christ: there is no condemnation for me because I am united to Christ. My standing before Him does not depend on my own performance, but on Christ's perfect obedience and sinless, sacrificial death in my place. His mercies are new every morning. And one day I will be forever set free from this body of sin and will serve Him perfectly.
Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)