I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. (Romans 7:24-25)
Many of us live 'lives of contradiction' - wanting to make right choices, but finding ourselves at the mercy of who knows what making all the wrong ones. If there is one thing I know it is this - the harder we 'try' to live right, the more we find ourselves decisions that are not always right. Why? This walk with Christ isn't meant to be us 'trying' - it is meant to be him empowering us through his Spirit and his Word to make the right decisions.
If we are constantly making wrong moves, does that mean we haven't really invited Christ into our lives? No, it just means we haven't stopped trying to be the ones to make our lives line up with what scripture teaches. We are still holding onto control - 'trying' is not the same as 'trusting'. The good news is that we are guided into making the right choices the more we 'settle into' this new life with Christ. The more we discover how he speaks to us and what he wants us to do, the more we find our desires changing. Changed desires make it a whole lot easier to change our actions.
I stopped asking God to help me do things right a long time ago. Instead, I ask his to make my desires different. It is like when I attempt to change the way I am eating from a not very healthy lifestyle to a healthier one. At first, I desire all the wrong stuff, but as I rid my house of the wrong stuff, my desires change little by little. When I made the choice to 'be healthier', I needed to make a shift in the way I bought groceries. One action led to another, until I eventually began to consistently make wiser choices. The same is true in our spiritual, emotional, and relational struggles - the actions change little by little.
I think we get ourselves all wound up when we don't see change coming quickly into our lives. We want to pray once, seek answers once, and then see immediate change. The truth of the matter is that spiritual change (the deeper inner struggles we all have with who will be in control in our lives) come slowly. As one principle is learned, we begin to put it into practice in our lives, and that leads to another principle (truth) being learned. No builder erects a building in one fell swoop. It takes planning, preparation, and consistent 'steps'. The same is true in our spiritual lives - plan to live right, prepare to live right, and then allow God to help you take the consistent steps toward right choices. Little by little, line upon line, precept upon precept. That's a biblical thing, you know! Just sayin!