Who Will Rescue Us?

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:21-24)

In this world, on this side of eternity, life is difficult and draining. Every failure creates conflicting feelings that are hollow and heavy. Daily, we are:

  • shamed by sins
  • ensnared by passions
  • enslaved by fears
  • burdened by cares
  • entangled by vanities
  • surrounded by errors
  • worn out by labors
  • oppressed by temptations
  • weakened by pleasures
  • tortured by want**

In light of all that we are facing, who will rescue us? Where can find deliverance? Where do we look to find the essential help we desperately need?

“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)

Salvation isn’t a gift that begins the moment we die. That would be gift enough, but there is more. Salvation is also help for the problems we face today. In Jesus we can rely on God’s strength. There are many situations and circumstances beyond our control that threaten to overwhelm us. We are drowning, sinking fast beneath the waters, and we need help.

We cannot WILL IT or WISH IT all away. The strongest among us do not have enough strength. We cannot sustain a lifelong push against  the impurities of the world and in our own hearts.

We can only trust Jesus.

The one who saves us, today and every day into eternity.

 

-MM

**This list is adapted from “The imitation of Christ,” by Tomas A Kempis (chapter 48).

 


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How to make an impact, a brief look at Romans 15:14

I myself am convinced, my brothers and sisters, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with knowledge and competent to instruct one another. (Romans 15:14)

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Rome is clear, easy to understand:

Goodness—Impacting others begins on the inside because it takes the integrity to consistently make good decisions. This doesn’t mean perfect, it means influencing others requires faithfulness.

Knowledge—You can’t help a person take a step forward if you don’t know what that step ought to be. The more you know, the more you can help because increased knowledge increases your potential to impact others. If you are good, but you lack knowledge, you will never be able to impart more than just the basic essentials of the faith. When you have both goodness and knowledge, people will see your wisdom through your good life.

Competence—Without skill, there can be no communication. Competence adds discernment to knowledge: It tells you what to say, when to say it, and how to say it best.

As it relates to instructing and impacting others: goodness gives you the authority, knowledge creates capacity, and competency gives you the ability to make a difference.

This teaching is simple. So simple that it seems self evident…until you think about all the crazy, broken ways we try to influence others. What is the World’s Way for making an impact? We exchange goodness for selfishness. Thoughtful knowledge is exchanged with clever catch phrases, cliches, or tweets. Rather than pursuing genuine skill and competence, we puff ourselves up to look like we are capable.

Let’s not be motivated by fear and insecurity and hunger for power. Instead lets pursue goodness and knowledge, and competence.

THIRST, day 34

Scripture: All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. (Proverbs 16:2)

Prayer: Lord, help me to understand the things I do and why I do them. Create in me a pure heart.

Reflection: The test of every action is the motive from which it springs. We are not called to simply do the right things, but to obey with a pure heart. The test of every motive is the action it creates. For we are not called to simply believe, but to have a faith that is expressed in deeds.


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THIRST, day 33

Scripture: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)

Prayer: Dear God, help me to love others as a reflection of the love you have shown me. Out of the overflow of your work in my heart, I want to serve others in love.

Reflection: The best friendships aren’t based on mutual benefit. “Win-win” is nothing more than good business, or more accurately in the context of personal relationships, selfishness. A by-product of servanthood may be mutual benefit, but this is not the goal.


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Why we become ashamed of the gospel

“… for I am not ashamed of the gospel …” (Romans 1:17)

What might move a follower of Jesus into a Peter who denies his savior?

The gospel calls us to be DIFFERENT, and in our world, no one likes to stand out from the pack. Just look at rebellious youths, even they all look alike (just don’t tell them that.)! Sure, the “outliers” exist…but by definition they are unique. And. Only sociopaths have no problem being rejected by others. We naturally want community, which we unnaturally pursue through conformity. to be unashamed about the gospel is to be willing to stand out and stand a part from the world.

The power of the gospel is UNCONTROLLABLE. Most of the power in the world is predictable and once it’s understood, it can be controlled. No one wants to catch a lightning bolt, but everyone knows where the location of the light switch. The power of the gospel is never subordinate. To be unashamed of the gospel is to also be humble about our own power.

The calling of the gospel is to PURITY and HOLINESS, to a life that strives to sin less. I suspect most of the time we are ashamed of the gospel because it is a light that reveals the darkness in our hearts. To be unashamed of the gospel is to admit to being sinful, imperfect.