Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Living In the Flesh, Longing for the Spirit

LAMENTING at the things that the Lord rends his heart over happens all too infrequently in my mind. It’s almost as if my instincts are so completely sinful that I have to manually re-orient my attitudinal approach – by the decision of my external will. At least my will sees the need to join God’s, but I am still pained by the implicitness of my flesh to glory in some others’ suffering (I hate reading these few words: “glory in some others’ suffering”). If you are like me, and I suspect you are, you will understand how dark we can get down on ourselves, for the thoughts we cannot even help.
It is good – a thing of God – to be brutally honest, as the Spirit reveals the truth:
Forgive me,
I try not to do it,
Turned over a new leaf,
Then tore right through it...”
— Pet Shop Boys, It’s a Sin (1987)
We vacillate right throughout the entirety of our lives if we are living for the Lord.
We live in the flesh, sinning left, right, and centre, only then to come back to the reminiscence of the Spirit – truth lagging as it does. Shame whelms us. Guilt smacks us like a wet fish right across the cheek. But God is not the one making us suffer with these things. It’s the enemy that accuses. God is so merciful he sent his Son for our sin – all of it – historically, presently, for all time, in all ways.
So, as we vacillate – dynamically in our flesh, reviewing in the Spirit – we are given to some harsh reviews. These may tend to take us in the wrong devotional direction, as we feel further from God when we are thrust face-to-face before our sin.
We need a way of living whereby we are able to be fully cognisant of our sin, whilst feeling close to our holy God in it all. Surely this is God’s will, as we bring ourselves before his gates to be healed as we draw closely into his courts. And as we are healed we feel ever closer than ever.
As sinners we are judged innocent because an Innocent Man took the full weight of our sin. But we must accept this by faith to enjoy innocence in the sight of God.
Jesus has interceded for us, for all time, not that we can take that for granted and glory in our sin, as pig does in the muck.
We can approach God filthy in our sin, to be cleansed, healed, and restored. I can think the horror of my thoughts and not have to sink under the weight of my guilt and shame. So good is God!
It’s good – a thing of God – to be brutally honest, as the Spirit reveals the truth. We can thrive, even in spite of our sin, when we confess it, repent of it; to be cleansed and healed of it, afresh. It’s all because of Jesus. We stand free, in spite of our sin. Amazing is grace.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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