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What a wretch I am!

Are you realizing yet that no matter how you try to do the right thing you fall flat on your face? Do you wonder if you're even a real Christian sometimes because of sin? It's in human nature that only through work do we obtain anything. Everything comes through our own acts. Want a promotion? Work to please your boss. Want money from your parents? Be good and do what you're supposed to do. Want your teachers to like you? Do what you're supposed to do in class and don't be a clown. I think overcoming this concept is one of the hardest things to deal with once one becomes a Christian.

Afterall, it's ingrained in us that we're chosen for everything on our own merit. We're rewarded based on our own works. With God, that's not the case. He doesn't choose anyone to do anything based on how they look, behave, upbringing or any other works or human achievement. I think it takes people a long time to fully realize this. But when we finally liberating it is!

Religion brands our brains somehow that God, being holy and righteous, is just waiting for us to mess up. He's like a lion waiting to pounce and rip us to shreds if we do something wrong. Religion turns God into a mean Being. But nothing could be further from the truth. God realizes what He's dealing with in each of us long before He chooses us. He's fully aware that even our greatest efforts and greatest deeds we do for Him are going to a big stinky mess.

God is so holy and we are so sinful that anything we do for Him or give to Him will be stained (Isaiah 64:6). It's like putting a 4 year old in charge of carrying a priceless gift to someone. If there's a puddle that kid will find it and jump in in. If there's dirt, that kid will find a way to get it stuck to him/her. Not to mention you can also guarantee that gift will be kicked around like a soccer ball at some point or fallen on. It's just gonna be a mess and God knows that with us.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

We're incapable of doing anything totally right and completely pure. Somewhere our own nature is going to make a gross mess of it. Motives, pride, behavior, thoughts, etc. We're never pure. No matter how hard we try to do the right thing we're gonna mess it up somewhere. He knows this. He didn't choose any of us based on how well we perform or our potential. He chose for His own reasons. Paul wrote...

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do," Romans 7:15

Paul wrote this several years after his own conversion so he wasn't a new convert beginning to notice the sin nature in him that he never noticed before. Paul still struggled with his own sin. What he wanted to do (good) he didn't do. What he didn't want to do (sin) he did. Just like us Paul found himself repenting of sin several times a day, hating his own actions, but realizing though he was a new creature the sin nature wasn't quite dead yet and continued to raise it's ugly head.

"For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 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" Romans 7:18-19

Paul couldn't escape it and neither can we. Like us, he became frustrated with himself, angry with himself, hated his own actions and thoughts, but no matter what, he was still continuing to battle it. I'm positive Paul even wondered if he was truly a Christian at times because of the sins he still committed. He was still just human.

One night around 4 am I was in the bathroom sitting on the edge of the tub crying quietly. My husband woke up and noticed I was gone and came looking for me. When he came in and saw me he started to panic thinking something terrible happened. He asked what was wrong and I cried "I don't think I'm saved." He stared at me totally confused, half asleep and trying to understand what my problem was, but then kinda laughed at me and did his best to comfort me at 4 am and half asleep.

I had just woke up from a dead sleep and suddenly realized just how many times that day I had blown it and for some reason I managed to convince myself in a matter of seconds I wasn't a Christian and was going to hell. It may sound ridiculous and pretty funny (I laugh about it too now) but when you consider the gravity of heaven or hell it can put you into a panic. If you base eternity on your own actions and merit it will throw you into a panic because you know, as all people do, there really isn't anything you can do to deserve something so awesome as Heaven. Even if you could obtain it through your own works, you're too lazy to do it all as we all are.

God doesn't expect perfection from us and thank God! He does expect humility. Humility makes us teachable, pliable, able to be built and shaped into whatever God wants. Pride makes us hard, unteachable therefore we don't repent because we think we have no sin. God can do nothing with pride except smash it. Like David whom God called a man after his own heart, David wasn't sinless. He was humble therefore teachable.

 Like the Apostle John said ...

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8

If you're a genuine Christian than you know all to well the sin in you and you hate it. But God's love isn't based on any of that. He doesn't love us because of us. He loves us in spite of us. Like Paul, we can lament, but understand...

  "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:15-25

It's not what you or I do that deserves Heaven or God's love and approval. It's what Christ did. It's His righteousness we wear not our own. God has delivered us from the exhausting, frustrating, endless work of attempting to gain salvation through our own works. That is religion. That is Law. This is why He made the call to all people...

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Religion is a heavy and exhausting burden with no guarantees, but in Christ is freedom. That's the Gospel and glaring difference from religion. As Paul Washer said "If you don't have a new relationship with sin, you don't have a new relationship with God." To find yourself loving righteousness more and more and hating the sin in you more and more proves you are a Christian.


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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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