Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is it This Hard for Everyone?

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
(Rom 12:9)

I have always found this verse so convicting. It just stabs at my heart and lays bear my spiritual state. The wording is so simple, it can be easily missed. Don't be a hypocrite. Abhor evil. Hold fast to good. Nothing cryptic. Plainly stated. So what's the problem.

Do I hate evil?
Do I love and cling to good?
Am I a hypocrite?

Think about this for a moment. Do you hate evil? Really hate it? What about the inappropriate jokes you hear at work? Do you laugh? Wouldn't anger be more fitting? Don't get me started on TV. There is sex all over that screen and yet you watch! Why? Shouldn't we be outraged by such things? We don't hate evil. Maybe in theory, but not in practice any way. I am a hypocrite!

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”
(Luke 18:13)

There is fierce war raging inside of me. I want to do good, yet evil is always there. How can these thoughts co-exist in me at the same time? Am I the only one? Is there something wrong with me?
Comfort can be found in the fact that Paul also struggled with this very problem.

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 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.”(Romans 7:15-25)
Abhor what is evil. Remember this verse next time you begin to feel a little too self-righteous. None of us can withstand its condemnation.

For those of us who are left broken by these words, there is hope. Though it is an impossible test and all of us fall short(Romans 3:23), in our broken state we can see our weakness and God's greatness. Our sinfulness and God's holiness. We can cry out with Paul, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
The good news is that there is a Deliverer! One who can save us from ourselves. Jesus died for these sins and resurrected to be our hope. He lives and so can we. We can not only trust Jesus for our forgiveness, but also to be our righteousness. Place no trust in yourselves for anything. Rest everything in Jesus. He is our deliverer. He is our only hope.
Abhor what is evil and
Hold fast to Jesus, for it is he who is truly good!
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