This week Brenda gave us an open assignment. Since that means we can write about anything, I'm going to share some thoughts--after first praising the Lord once again, for his awesome and unexpected blessing that enabled me to purchase a Wii and a Wii Fit. This is so fun, it will surely keep me moving even on the hottest of days. :-) Now if only I could find something to motivate me to stick to the rest of my goals.
It seems like I've been battling the same old battles week after week, year after year, for almost half a century now, and wondering why it's so hard to break bad habits. Seems like I'm forever setting goals and declaring new beginnings, only to fall short time and time again. I can so relate to what the great apostle Paul says in Romans 7:15--"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." That's me to a tee, and I spent much time this week pondering that very question.
Well, a few days ago I took one of my neighbors to an Alpha course. This week's session was all about the Holy Spirit. Nothing new that I haven't heard or read about before. My mind started to wander a bit, but all of a sudden I was sitting bolt upright in my chair. It was one of those moments when you see something you've seen a zillion times before, but this time it jumps off the page and knocks you right between the eyes.
The Lord brought something to my attention that was so obvious, I couldn't believe it hadn't impacted me before. All along, without realizing it, I have been trying to do what the "Law" proved it was impossible for us to do. I have been trying to transform myself, when the Holy Spirit is the only one who can set me free from my various bondages. Hello!!!
The whole purpose of the law was to show us our need for grace. Nobody was able to keep all the commandments, ever. The old covenant was constantly being broken. However, God promised that one day He would make a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:33) and the law would become something inside of us instead of an external thing. Instead of all those rules weighing us down from the outside like a heavy sack of potatoes, we would be energized by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
The moment we come to the foot of the Cross and receive the gift Christ offers us, we receive complete forgiveness of our sins. The barrier between us and God is removed, and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and begin His work of transforming us from the inside out. This takes time. Only rarely does it happen overnight.
Sorry if I've gone off on a tangent here, but it's been an incredible experience to have the light turned on and to finally realize (in my heart rather than my head) that all I have to do is turn everything over to the Holy Spirit and let Him take the lead. Not only is transformation his responsibility, God (through His Spirit) "who works in [me] to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13). What ever success I have is a result of His grace and His grace alone.