Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Romans 7:24
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23
I have been thinking much of late over freedom from earth and its sinful stains (which I put here) as well as my own fleshly encumbrances that wage war against me. This battle is not external from me but internal as I await the redemption of my body. I cannot imagine what praise will be like without the presence of sin as we worship in the presence of the sinless One.
God has seen fit to give me what has regrettably become a bit of an annual reminder of my own fleshly vulnerabilities and the tenacity by which I should guard and war against my own flesh. Each year as the temperature increases so do the wild weeds and cursed trees of my lower backyard; apparently this soil is extremely conducive to producing everything but vegetables and fruit. Well two of my major deficiencies (among many) in life are home & auto repair (mechanical) and gardening. I honestly can say that I think I’d rather bake than mess around in a garden. The reason being, that every time I get around stuff that grows in patches I end up breaking out in patches.
Like a Dog Returning to his…
Well this year is no different. This past Monday I went out in the 97 degree heat completely covered in what seemed like impregnable armor. I also saw the vile weeds (plants…whatever) growing and taunting me from across the garden with their smiling and shiny three leaves. I will tell you right now I am intimidated by poison ivy, it has taken me down for three straight years where I have to take steroids and pretty much shut it down because my face swells up and I look like I’m 54 years old on one side of my face.
So what happens? I stay away. I watch myself. I am careful. But you know what? It got me. Tuesday morning I got a bump and then another and before you know it I look like I shaved with a belt sander on the left side of my face. Now I am itching and irritated like I am participating in some sort of cruel Fear Factor event. Not good.
In considering this providential plight I am thankful as it serves to illustrate so much about my war with sin. I went out there knowing that I was vulnerable but maintained a high view of myself and my ability to stay away from the stuff, but the resin or the juice or whatever it is must have gotten on my clothes or skin or something. I have to know my vulnerabilities and stay away from things that I may be susceptible to. If particular things (which may or may not be sinful) when united with my own sinful heart conceive sin then I need to stay back, I need to keep away because I am vulnerable.
Additionally this plight makes me itch. I know the immediate effect of the itching: relief. But I also know the fruit of the itching: I get worse. This is just like sin. We consider the temporal pleasure of sinning, to get the immediate gratification of the flesh but then also we get the enduring and painful fruit of consequences.
The opportunity to sin is ever present for the believer, the flesh pulls at us, even itching us to do so, just to satisfy it, to relieve it temporally. As Christians we know that sin is rebellion and dishonoring to God, that the consequences are far more devastating than the fleeting pleasure of temporal and apparent pleasure. So as I am afflicted here I am made increasingly aware of the persistent and pervasive battle that rages on in my flesh. While my choices to sin or not to sin may not be as evident to me as whether or not to scratch they are no less present.
I must be more aware of the ongoing battle that is occurring in my own body. Perhaps if I am not aware then I am being pummeled by the opposition?! Yikes! Feel the struggle and refuse the sin. Be aware of the fountain of inexhaustible grace that is yours in Christ Jesus who died to deliver sinners like you not only from hell but also from you! Isn’t that encouraging!? I love this reality.
So as I sit here and marvel at the outward manifestations of inward decay through the breaking down of my body I am reminded of the neediness that I have. I am such a sinner and so devoid of good. Christ is such a Savior and so full of good. This simple fact of my neediness and Christ’ s sufficiency causes me to love him ever the more, and this love is maintained and even enflamed through the daily reminders of my own depravity and the sweet gospel song of Calvary. This song I must sing and hear every day, for our hearts forget too quickly!
I can’t wait to be gone from this body of death that knowing that one day Jesus Christ himself will be in full view and I will be relieve and redeemed from this body of death. Therefore knowing this is true and will be accomplished I am encouraged even now because “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3
What a glorious thought, but what a better reality!!
By grace growing more appreciative of the Savior,