Sometimes, it hurts to admit the fact that despite all our efforts and intentions to ‘stay good’, we still rebel and insist on doing what we want. We do exactly the opposite. This was precisely what Paul was referring to in Romans 7:14-20 when he wrote that he does not understand what he does. “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” It’s a wretched condition and the consolation I guess is that by default, everyone, including Christians, is like that.
But knowing that doesn’t comfort me. How can it when the reason we get to this point is because we’re not Spirit-filled and we let our natural selves lead and control us. The truth is, it hurts even more to admit that the reason we do what we do is because we want to run the course of our lives by ourselves. We want to call the shots. In short, we want to rebel.
Rebellion isn’t hard to define, but sometimes, it can be hard to identify. We can fool ourselves into thinking that what we’re doing is right, but if we look closely and conform our thoughts and actions to the Word of God, we’re exposed and revealed. See, God always sees our hearts. Even if people cannot, God does. And he knows when we rebel and when we refuse to acknowledge that we do.
Today, my heart is filled with grief as I’m brought to that hard, stinging truth that there is so much rebellion in me which I do not want to admit. Rebellion is defined as refusal to submit to authority, code, or convention. It’s also open resistances to, or defiance of, authority. And to a Christian, her first authority is God, her code or convention, the Bible.
My heart rebels every time I doubt God’s goodness and his great plan for me. I know that God knows my every desire and need, even before I express it. I know that nobody else in the world knows exactly who I am apart from God. And yet a lot of times I doubt him and in the process, without directly saying I do, my actions show that I do not trust God. I unknowingly listen to lies and deceptions and because I do, I run away from God.
My heart rebels when it refuses to give God the ‘right’ to run the course of my life, including my heart and all its longings. I rebel each time I refuse to give my fears to God, and instead cave in to them. I rebel when I insist on living in the past, when I let my past hurts and my issues define my worth and my self, instead of claiming the victory that God has set for my life. I rebel when I refuse to hide his teaching in my heart and find assurance there. I rebel when I refuse to give God the reign to my stubborn, fragile heart and when I let my emotions get the better of me.
I know doing these things is easier said than done, but I also learned something tonight: transformation in a person always starts with a need. We must become acutely aware of our inadequacy to be righteous (and to be able to do all these) before a Holy God. We must realize that no matter how hard we try to be righteous or good, it will not be sufficient. Hence, we will need to be totally dependent on God’s spirit and power to change us. And at the same time, we must be confident of the fact that God is gracious and merciful and loves us as a good parent loves his or her child. He wants us to be refined, to be just like Jesus. He wants us to admit that we cannot do this changing by ourselves.
It’s a wretched condition, this ‘not doing what we want to do, and doing what we don’t want to do.’ Is there a way out?
”Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25