If you happen to read this blog pretty consistently you will have no doubt noticed the brief hiatus I have taken from writing over the course of the past month. You can chalk up this time away to the fact that the semester was nearing its conclusion, filled with papers, projects, and finals, but to identify my studies as the main reason for the lapse in content is to not provide a truly honest explanation. If I can be candid, the past month and a half was probably one of the worst I have ever experienced.
I can remember a time during the middle of the semester when I was sitting in the Romans Bible study I attend and I really had no desire to be there. As I listened to the conversations that were taking place about some of the most important passages in Scripture, I found myself wandering in all sorts of directions. I did not care about the content of Paul's admonitions or the truth that was being spoken right in front of me, truth that would evoke inexpressible joy in the heart of any Christ-follower being reminded of the transformational ability of the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
There was no joy in my heart. There was not a trace amount of excitement in the truly heart-wrenching words of Romans 6, a passage of Scripture I have read countless times and was always left in awe of the truth those verses convey. Sitting on the couch of that apartment, there I continued to reside in a state of spiritual destitution, one I had crawled into weeks earlier.
I felt as if the Spirit had left me.
I possessed no desire to read God's Word. When I would fail to the sinful inclinations of my flesh, there was no face-to-the-floor submission, there was no grieving over my heinous acts against a holy God. My chest lacked a repentant heart, growing more stone-like with each mark missed, with each standard unsatisfied. There only remained a sense of hopelessness, an internal voice that whispered in the back of my mind and in the darkness of the night,
"If you haven't changed yet, you never will."
Recently I found myself again dwelling in this continuous state of spiritual apathy, no longer concerned with what I was being filled with, or that I was freely choosing to rebel against God. I had deceived myself into believing that my faithlessness directly influenced how God perceived me. I had bought into the lie that my holiness correlated with the extent with which God loved me. The flesh had won, and I was content in giving up.
But the faithfulness of God is realized in the failure and folly of humanity. The hands of mankind will strive to no avail to reach out with heartfelt-longing for perfection and complete wholeness, but I offer to you that mankind was never meant to reach perfection in this life. For if man were able, there would be no purpose for the sending of God's Son to be the sin offering, paid in full, for our debts. In the God-man Jesus Christ, perfection was attained, oneness with the Father in Spirit and in truth was understood. And because Christ satisfied every standard and met every mark, in relationship with Him, perfection can one day be grasped.
Though we be cursed by the inherent sinfulness of our flesh, a proclivity to reject the love of God and His Son Jesus, in Christ we are given a Spirit that cannot be defeated nor overcome. Despite the weaknesses, despite the shortcomings, despite the temptations, despite the failure, the battle of our faith is not decided in our works, our words, or our faithfulness. The battle is not determined by the strength of our weaponry or the wisdom of our tactics. The covenant God makes with us, the promise to remain faithful even in the midst of our sinfulness, will ultimately save and transform us.
"Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus." Romans 6:3-11