Archive for March 2011

The Spirit of God Sabotages Our Intentions

March 20, 2011

For the flesh is lusting against the spirit, yet the spirit against the flesh. Now these are opposing one another, lest you should be doing whatever you may want (Galatians 5:17).

We almost always make this verse say that the spirit keeps us from doing all of the bad things we want to do.

This is true; but it also keeps us from doing all the good things.

The key phrase of this passage is:

… lest you should be doing whatever you may want.

What do we want to do? Two things: fleshly things and good things. Yet, if we could make a wish, we would want to do good continually. Oh, wouldn’t we be saintly and spectacular.

A desire to be perfect is also a lust of the flesh. It is in our best interests to be kept weak. II Corinthians 4:7 explains:

Now we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the transcendence of the power may be of God and not of us. God keeps us weak so that we might constantly acclaim His power and not our own.

Remarkably, the same spirit that incites us to good works also keeps us from becoming moral super-people.

Can you learn to thank God for this, even when you are yet again failing Him?

You cannot do everything you want to do. You would like to be a better parent, a better employee, a better friend. It would help if you could make more money. You want to pay your bills, but you can’t find a job.

You wanted to get a good night’s sleep last night, but worry kept you up. Money vexes your life. It seems to be a measure of your success and failure. You try to save it, but you can’t. There is always another expense – always. Someone always needs something. What about your needs? They burn on the altar of sacrifice – again.

Still, there is more. Someone needed you yesterday, and you failed them. Today, you yelled at your children. The debilitating fatigue and accompanying impatience hit you in the late afternoon, after your son and daughter arrived home from school. You love them more than life itself; you would die for them. The last thing you want is to lose your temper at them. At 4:50 p.m., in the kitchen, it is the first thing you do. My God, what comes over you?

Later, you cry.

Each day is a struggle. … It is because we are bound. It is because God has limited us – horribly limited us. He has made it so that we cannot do what we want. He has sabotaged our vessels so that we cannot be the people we want to be. How we try. It is noble to try. We all try, and should. We pick up our burdens and try to budge them. Sometimes, we succeed. A miracle happens, and we are good people. Whenever this happens, we praise our Father. We ought to, because a dozen failures are coming down the pike.

I do not write from a place of depression or paranoia, but from reality and truth. I know so much about the love and sovereignty of God. He sustains the lilies of the field, and yet cares for me exceedingly more. What happens next? I promptly forget it. I forget about His care. Every day – at least sometime during the day, I doubt Him. Every day, I fail. Then comes an entire day when I lay utter confidence at His feet. His love remains constant throughout, but still …

Oh, that we could relax and even glory in our bonds, knowing that these limitations are of divine origin, and that they must precede liberation. We cannot know the sweet, coming release, apart from our writhing within these confines. There is meaning in sweet writhing. May we both strain and relax in our splendid disability.

Martin Zender
Clanging Gong News
Volume 3, Issue 6

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