After spending many hours with Christ last night; speaking with Him and being instructed in all the ways of the Lord, I spoke with Him about some struggles I've been having with temptation.
I recounted an earlier event where I had been tempted and tried to use prayer until the opportunity to sin had passed. I could barely focus on the words as my body overwhelmed my mind, causing me to sin. I was frustrated because I was so sure that prayer would work despite trying many times before and failing. And then the Lord revealed to me something that actually took me by surprise, when it shouldn't have.
He brought to my attention a verse from His Word that I had heard many times before, "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Now, I had understood this to mean that because I have sinned, that because of the original sin with Adam and Eve and the apple, that I would die. That is why people die. Yes, I was assured that this interpretation was correct, but that it wasn't complete.
Then our Blessed Saviour, showed me exactly what the full meaning was. He took me to Calvary and showed me Him being nailed to the cross. As I watched Him groan and moan in pain with each pass of the hammer, my Lord told me that each time I had sinned that I was directly responsible for each time the hammer hit the nail driven through His hands and feet.
I'm very much aware that Jesus died for my sins but I'd known this only by fact. It never really hit home until this point that I was just as guilty as the Jews and Romans that crucified Him. That every time that I'd sinned, and I sin an average of once a day, that I was single handedly causing immense pain and suffering to the One who loved me so much that He died for me, the same One that I have come to love deeply and respect immensely.
You see, many Christians do believe that Christ died for their sins. In fact, you can't be a Christian unless you do believe this fact. But then we sing happy feel good song about how we left our sins at Calvary, about how we've left all our worries and hardships at the foot of the Cross. We actually rejoice that someone else paid the price of our sins. Don't get me wrong, we are instructed to rejoice and to bring our struggles to the foot of the Cross. But these songs, to me, now seems almost disrespectful towards Christ.
Imagine yourself if you were there when they crucified my Lord. Would you be joyful and dancing and carrying on in celebration? No, you like the other followers of Christ who were there that day would be sobbing and grieving for the loss. Unless you are one of those who would have scoffed and mocked Him instead.
What our perfect Teacher has taught me, is that whenever I am tempted to do wrong, that it isn't a matter of should or shouldn't I commit the sin, but rather of matter of "Do I or do I not want to take a swing at the nail in my Master's hands and feet?" Yes, temptation will come again and I will face this same question many times before I myself die, but that is the suffering way of the Christian.
I know many of my brothers and sisters, particularly those of the Protestant denomination would love to believe, and cause non-believers to believe that being Christian is a happy, go-lucky experience where you never do wrong and never suffer and everything is one big giant celebration. Siblings of Christ, this is false.
For even St. Paul writes of the suffering of being a Christian saying, "So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 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 7:14-25)
If we believe in Christ, love Him with all our hearts, minds and soul and do all that he teaches, then we might have eternal life. But do not be sad, for God loves us so much that each day he enables us to do these things with an outpouring of His grace, "our daily bread". Even if you do not yet believe or have been baptised, you still have some grace. "For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the first born within a large family. And those whom He predestined He also called; and those whom He called He also justified; and those whom He justified He also glorified." (Romans 8: 29-30)
All thanks be to the Glory of God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.If I have failed to make sense of all these things to you, than it is me alone that has failed you. That said, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns or of course just leave a comment below.
God bless you in this Lenten season!