God revealed this to me tonight while I was lying in bed nursing Rachel. Lately I've been kind of struggling with the whole concept of Christian living. If we died with Christ and were raised to new life, why do we still struggle SO MUCH with sin? Why is it sometimes I feel like I'm no better now than I would be if I never knew God? People say that God gives us the strength to get through each day, and that only through prayer and closeness to God can we ever hope to grow and mature and become better people - they say that only through Christ can we overcome our temptations and our weaknesses.
But I don't think that's true. (Bear with me.) There are plenty of people in the world who don't follow Christ at all but who overcome temptations and weaknesses just the same. Maybe it's still through the power of God - he's the God of everyone, after all, lost or saved. But this whole concept of needing Christ to do anything... I don't know. I'm just really struggling with it.
After all, before Jesus there were still godly people. People who overcame the temptation to sin. People who got through the day without losing their patience. Weren't there? I'm definitely NOT saying anyone was perfect, or worthy of God's grace on their own - I know Christ's sacrifice was THE only way to repair the shattered bond between God and man. I'm just saying, if the only way to overcome anger is through the power of Christ in us, why are there people who don't know Christ who overcome their anger?
But I'm getting off-topic a little. So I've been struggling with this mostly because I feel like I should be living differently. Like I shouldn't be having so much trouble overcoming things like selfishness, pride, thoughtlessness, shame, and impatience. And this is where my thought for the day comes in. Maybe the reason I'm having so much trouble dying to the flesh and living in the spirit is because... get ready... there are still parts of the flesh that I WANT to keep alive. I'm not willing to die in certain areas. There are times when I still WANT to be selfish. Times when I want pity. Or chocolate. More than I want God. There are times when I want to be angry and just lash out instead of seeking the Holy Spirit. And what I realized tonight was this:
If you want to truly take hold of God, you have to let go of everything else.
It's like if you were hanging off a cliff and someone in a helicopter came to rescue you. The guy reaches down from a dangling ladder or something and tries to help you up. It's obvious he's a strong enough guy, and the ladder is more than sturdy enough to hold the both of you. But even though you can see him and be sort of close to him, and maybe even talk with him and get to know him a little, YOU CAN'T GET INTO THE HELICOPTER UNTIL YOU LET GO OF THE CLIFF. The guy can't save you if you're still holding onto the rocks.
Duh, right? But sometimes the most obvious things can become quite revelational when you look at them in new light.