April 11, 2012

The 2 Visitors

Romans 7:18-19
"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."

Two visitors came to see me, both at the same time,
Both were trying to win control of my body, heart, and mind

One was dressed quite plainly, one dressed fit to kill,
I couldn’t see the battle they were waging for my will.

One promised to give fame, friends and riches beyond compare,
Anything I wanted, it seemed, and while I was standing there,

He showed me how life could be, for a little while at least,
I couldn’t see beneath the clothes, to recognize the beast.

The other told of hard times, of sacrifice and pain,
Ridicule and persecution, nothing much to gain,

But there was something deep in this visitor’s eyes
That made me feel to choose Him would somehow be wise.

I guess you'll know the outcome by the way my life reflects,
The one I picked, the path I chose, the one that He directs.

So, did I choose so poorly, I wonder as I sing.
But one day I shall see Him, as He truly is:

The awesome King of kings!

compliments of Beth Fisher

When I think of the 2 visitors, I know that they are not one-time callers. They are not only cold-callers, that is, showing up without warning. No, these two can sometimes be spotted long before they reach your front door. In either event, they are opportunistic. These two are determined to influence my thinking, my attitude, my choices and my priorties every day. Not one day passes that they don't come a-knocking.

Here's the thing: As a Christian, the turmoil isn't external; it's internal, between the old man and the new man. In Romans 7:22-25, Paul's line of reasoning points to the crux of the internal struggle -

"For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

Indeed, it's humbling to man - the so-called master of his own destiny - to be under the influence of evil passions. And yet, it is what it is. Just look at today's headlines in Any City, USA. You shall find man in all his glorious wickedness in full display. Scan the international news pages and you'll come upon the same bad news. If there is one headline that could sum up all of man's efforts and endeavors in this world, it would be this: Man Sinned Again!

Sin is degrading on man, a stain. It brings him down into the dust. What kind of man thinks he's the master of his destiny and yet be not in control of his sinful propensities and indulgences? A self-delusional one, that's what kind. God said, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one...For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Rom. 3:10-12, 23)

To the Christian, the mind is overwhelmed with wretchedness, and instinctively sighs for relief. He asks himself: Can keeping the Law help me? Can any man rescue me? Can any innate strength of conscience or of reason mitigate this miserable state of mind? In vain all these are tried, and the Christian then calmly and thankfully acquiesces in the consolations of the Good Book, realizing and understanding and concluding that aid can be obtained only through Jesus Christ.

Yet, there are those who continue to struggle in the flesh with that which cannot be overcome in the flesh. What frustrating misery to live by a code and yet fall short on a daily, nay, hourly, basis. The body is the seat of the fleshly desires; the heart, the control center where decisions are made (Jer. 17:9). The love of the world appertains to the Devil (I Jn. 2:16) - lust of the flesh & eyes and pride of life. But, the decisions come from the heart, dear Reader.

Sin makes us guilty of death. Being unable to free ourselves from it (even in our very best state), we cry out until there aren't anymore tears, just sheer exhaustion, and look for help and deliverance out of ourselves. And that's the rub: We cannot deliver ourselves from ourselves. You might as well be trying to crawl out of your own skin. So, we must cry to the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver us Himself.

Thus, the man, finding there is no help in himself, begins almost unknowingly to pray, Who shall deliver me? That is a question and petition altogether wrapped in desperation. He then seeks and looks for deliverance, until God in Christ appears to answer his question: "Be of good cheer, because I have overcome the world." (Jn. 16:33).

Matthew 11:28-29 states, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

Isn't it time you surrendered your struggles to Jesus Christ? You know you've tried everything else. Speaking with friends. Reading self-help books and philosophical treatises. Scanning the world wide web. Looking for answers that aren't there. Stop living with one foot in the world and one in God's grace. Please, Reader, give Jesus Christ a chance to prove that He indeed is the Prince of peace.

C'mon! What's holding you back? Jesus Christ, My Rest and My Peace

’Tis the grandest theme, let the tidings roll,
To the guilty heart, to the sinful soul;
Look to God in faith, He will make thee whole,
“Our God is able to deliver thee.

He is able to deliver thee,
He is able to deliver thee;
Though by sin oppressed, go to Him for rest;
“Our God is able to deliver thee.

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