Sometimes, we find ourselves enjoying the very sin that we hate. God understands this and yet He is expecting us to immediately confess our sins with sincerity and contrition.
However, when our determination to overcome sin is confused with a desire to boast something before God, then problems arise. Peter is a good example of this unguarded desire. In Matthew 26:30-35, we read Peter’s self-determination to follow Jesus no matter what happens. He even said to Jesus, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!”
Peter was boldly assuring Jesus that he will never back down from his determination to follow Him. He even had the guts to say, “though they all fall away…I will never fall away.” In other words, he’s saying that his determination to follow Jesus was stronger than the determination of others. Indeed, by intention we can respect Peter for his guts to stand for his Lord. It was an honest desire. However, Peter was not careful enough to watch the spiritual pride in his heart. He began to view his commitment to Jesus as a competition with others. Perhaps, he wanted to become something special to Jesus in order to earn his praise and reward. But at the emotional height of his pledge, Jesus gently foretold him his three-fold shameful denials.
Similarly, in the Christian life, each and every one of us has our own form of self-determination and spiritual pride. Carelessly, in our speech-act, we are determined to present something to God by which we can earn His reward. We oftentimes forget our human weakness and thus act rashly before God with a promise or pledge of obedience which we later on realize we cannot fulfill.
There will always be ups and downs in the Christian life. But in the final analysis, what really matters is this: Despite the imperfection of our obedience, our Lord’s perfect obedience to the Father has already guaranteed our eternal security in heaven.
In Romans 7, when Paul realized the presence of indwelling-sin within him, he also realized that the way to ultimately overcome it is not by his self-determination. Rather, he clung to the determination of Jesus to save him (Rom. 7:25).
In other words, he rested the assurance of his salvation at the foot of the Cross. Indeed, while on earth, the Christian life will never become perfect. There will always be ups and downs in the Christian life. But in the final analysis, what really matters is this: Despite the imperfection of our obedience, our Lord’s perfect obedience to the Father has already guaranteed our eternal security in heaven. And so, like St. Paul we declare with contrition and assurance. “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom. 7:24-25).
- Are challenges normal in life?
- How do we respond during times of great crisis?
- What can we learn about handling crisis from the life of Job
Lord, help me to keep my focus on you at all times. Do not let me be moved by the circumstances of life. Help me to hold on to you. I believe you can see me through everything that happens in life in Jesus’ Name. Amen
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