I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am just exasperated with myself! I’ll be traveling down life’s path feeling pretty good about my character and living up to my testimony and then out of nowhere, frustration…conflict…the unexpected…or a distraction comes smashing into my plans and needless to say that’s often when I will blow it. Can you relate?
If you answered “Yes,” I have found some good news. I’m not the only one who has ever tried to live their life in a way that honors God, only to get flustered at my inability to live on point all the time and neither are you. When studying the letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul, who is arguably the greatest preacher and theologian since Christ Himself, stated that he too fought the battle within himself of wanting to do what is right and ending up doing what is wrong.
Look at his own words written to Christians living in Rome.
“ For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me “ – Romans 7: 19-20.
Then to really express how he felt about this war within himself he wrote,
Vs. 24, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”
Yes! Thank you Paul for being authentic! Now, here is some more good news. This isn’t the end of the passage, but it is an important place to pause for a moment and realize that no matter how sincere we are in our service to Christ, we still battle the flesh. But let’s go on to what Paul says next.
Vs. 25, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!“
Though we battle, we are not defeated. Christ is our LORD and our Victor! Fail as we may, the LORD Himself will strengthen us so we can continue honoring Him as we march forward if we will look to Him and the help He provides. I want us to consider three areas of help He has provided to strengthen our journey.
- We are strengthened through the WORD of God
Paul would tell his young prodigy Timothy, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness” – 2 Timothy 3:16.
The Bible is a literary masterpiece. It is a collection of 66 individual books, written by as many as 40 authors over a 1500 year period. Writers were from every walk of life such as kings, military leaders, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, tax collectors, poets, musicians, scholars and shepherds. The Bible was written on 3 different continents, 13 countries and in 3 different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek).
When you consider all of this, it is incredible that the Bible has one theme, the Love of God. The BIble has one problem – sin. The Bible has one villain – the devil. The Bible has one hero – Jesus. The Bible has one solution – salvation through faith in Christ alone!
How did this happen? The Apostle Peter gave us insight when he wrote, “Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” – 2 Peter 1: 20-21.
- We are strengthened by the HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus would teach, “If you love me, you will keep my commands.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth…Vs. 26, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you” – John 14: 15-17, 26.
The Greek word for Counselor here is (parakletos), it means counselor, helper. A counselor is one who stands beside you—guides, directs, points out, and reveals. The key here is that we must be a relationship with Him to experience His comfort and guidance.
He would also say, “ When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come” – John 16:13.
- We are strengthened by the PEOPLE of God
This is important to understand because many of us believe we can tackle the issues of life and faith on our own, however, when you study the actions of Christy ou find that He never sent His disciples out in groups less than two. There are no “lone ranger” Christ-followers. We are called to walk out our faith together in community.
The writer of the book of Hebrews states the purpose for believers to gather together.
“And let us consider one another in order to provoke love and good works, 25 not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching” – Hebrews 10: 24-25.
How do we find strength in these three areas, the Word of God, the Spirit of God and the people of God? The answer comes from a Jewish discipline taught by the ancient Rabbis called, Kavanah.
Kavanah is is the discipline of intentionality. The idea is to be determined to chase after and dedicate oneself to acquiring the knowledge or experience they desire. The Rabbi’s would say, “No one hears from God accidentally.” If you want strength and guidance from the LORD, you will have to intentionally discipline your life to go after it.
Watch the connection here…
So the Spirit of God speaks to us through the Word of God and gives us encouragement, wisdom and accountability through the people of God. The help is there, but the process will require discipline. Pursue it!
If you would like to hear the full sermon I preached on this topic, check out the messages at yourcpc.church or subscribe to the Connection Point Church Youtube channel. If you enjoy listening to podcast, subscribe to my audio podcast entitled, “The Pursuit with Dr. Chris Vaught.”