I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin (Romans 7:21-25, NLT).
I have to be honest. I am ready for spring. Here in Boston we have had on the snowiest winters in history. The amazing thing is that about 90% of the snow we have had has been in three storms over the last few weeks. It is my understanding that that lousy rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow again. I feel like the wolf in this picture:
This morning I spent some time raking snow off one this one section of roof on the back of my house that seemed to just be a magnet for the stuff. I’m sure it would have been hilarious to watch…Pastor Dan up to his waist in snow with an 18 foot roof rake trying to get the snow off the roof whilst at the same time trying to keep from falling over or sinking deeper into the drifts.
After half an hour, I had had enough. There was still a lot of snow on the roof I was trying to clear. I was not all that happy with the results, it did not look like I had accomplished much.
But then I looked down at the doorway I had come out of (which was under the roof I was clearing) and realized that there was now 2-3 feet of snow in front of it! I was amazed! While the roof still had a lot of snow on it, a ton of snow had been removed from it…enough in fact to make me wonder how I was going to get back inside…but I digress…
Sometimes we can feel like we are making precious little headway in our relationship with God. The more we work at raking away pride, fear, and selfishness from our lives the more work there seems to be. Do you know what I mean? If all we do is look at what still needs done we are almost certainly going to sink into the temptation of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated because we are not where we wanted, hoped, or expected to be.
But if we change perspective, we can see that this work that the Holy Spirit has us doing with Him has not been in vain. If we look we might realize that while we are not where we want to be yet, we are definitely not where we were. Much has changed. Much has been removed. To quote Charlie Jones again, “I’m not what I think I am, I’m not what I hoped I’d be, nor am I what I ought to be, but by the grace of God I’m not what I was.”
The reality is the snow of sin is not going to stop falling and gathering on the roof of my soul this side of heaven. Grace promises that in Jesus all the snow has been dealt with and forgiven, and because of that I don’t need to be discouraged about it. Looking at the roof reminds me how much I need His grace; that I am not enough (Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?). Looking at what He has cleared from my roof reminds me that His grace is effective (Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord); that in Him I will always have enough.