Do you ever have times when you reflect over your day and begin to wonder just how the “natural you” got so much more time on the playing field of life than the “spiritual you?”
If you said “No,” I know you’re lying, but we can be friends anyway. We all have our crosses to bear.
I was certainly feeling that today. I even found myself asking if the “spiritual me” was more fiction than fact.
One of the hard realities I have been learning is that the daily journey of sanctification is full of ups and downs. There are dizzying highs and deep depressing lows. And sometimes they follow so closely together that you can’t help but feel you are stuck on some crazy rollercoaster that makes you wonder if all the screws are in tight. Like Paul, we will have days when we cry out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24, NIV).
Days like this, I remind myself of two really important truths:
First, while the “natural me” has lost the war and is mortally wounded, it is still with me. It is still part of me. Sin is so much a part of our nature, that it requires our death to be fully rid of it (1 John 1:8). We can make great progress, but the natural self can also counter with fierce resistance. Couple that with the Enemy making use of every opportunity to discourage, depress, and demean our faith with the aim of making us give up our resolve and walk away from Christ. That is part of the spiritual life, the war. Some days the war seems very clearly to be going in your favor. Other days not so much.
Second, the fact is, my standing before God and His love for me is not based in how I feel. Nor does it wax or wane based on how well or poorly I do on any given day. It is solely based in Jesus and in what He did. I am justified. “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering” (Romans 8:3, NIV). There is no changing that. I cannot undo what Jesus has done in his life, death, and resurrection. I cannot unmake the new creation that I am in Christ. I don’t have that power. And neither do you.
So when you have those lousy days—and you will—remember those two things: your sin nature is not dead or gone, it is forgiven; and base your faith on the facts, not on your feelings. Feelings come and go and change with the wind. But the fact is, when you accepted Jesus as your Savior, He saved you and united you to Himself. When He forgave you, He knew about every day of your life and all the sin, failure, and mess you needed saved from…including this one.
You’re still okay, because it is all about Jesus—who He is and what He did—and not at all about you.