I Do What I Do Not Want To Do

Note: I encourage you to take the time to read Romans 7:7-25 today. I stumbled across this passage this week, as it was the next Scripture for the online Bible study I'm a part of, and it couldn't have been better timing. This is truth: the truth about me, the truth about you, the truth about humanity. But it is also the truth about Jesus. The truth about the hope that is available for both me and you. For all of humanity.

As I read these verses, I wrote and God spoke. These are the exact notes from my Quiet Time notebook this morning. This is my struggle. This is my hope. I felt led to share this with you. I hope it is of some impact and encouragement to you today:

"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it." (Romans 7:19-20).

The sin living in me, the sinful nature of the flesh, is bringing me to death spiritually. It is because of my sinful nature that I cannot carry out the desire I have to do good. And this truth, laid out in this Scripture, could not have come to me at a better time this week.

All week (actually, this entire summer) I've been struggling. I want to keep the Lord first and I desire to spend time with Him in prayer and in His Word. I desire to journal and reflect on His faithfulness. Yet, I don't do these things like I should. I wake up to checking my Facebook for an hour or two and then finally head over to spending fifteen or twenty minutes in prayer. I know I should spend time in His Word yet I spend an excessive amount of time on social media throughout the day, scrolling mindlessly despite that I know (and desire) to put God first. Finally, I spend some time in His Word for ten minutes or so, usually at 1:30 am. This has become frequent. My life has been losing routine. I'm not spending enough time with God and I am definitely not putting Him first. I haven't journaled about His faithfulness (despite that I've been wanting to for months). I'm going to bed way too late and sleeping in way too much. I desire routine. I desire for the Lord to be first in my life. Yet I give into the flesh. I give into the sinful nature and do what I do not want to do.

"For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15b)

So is there a solution?

"For in my inner being I delight in God's law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body..." (Romans 7:22-23a)

The sinful nature is at work, and I do what I do not want to do. I may delight in God's law, but the flesh is working against me, and too often, I let the flesh win. I struggle in my sin. But this is why Jesus came. We are all destined to eventually let the sinful nature win. We are all in need of a Savior; none of us are righteous in the sight of God by our own doing. But Jesus won when He died and defeated the grave. I may do what I do not want to do, but HE has won--and I can live not only with salvation and new life, but in His grace, which is fully sufficient to cover my sins.

When I'm struggling in my sin, when I feel like I can never do what I want to do and that I always end up failing because of the sinful nature at work within me----
there is victory awaiting.

We are all going to fail, but that's why Jesus died. He rescued me, saved me, and means it when He says: "My grace is sufficient for you..." (2 Cor. 12:9)

So I'm giving my struggle to Him. I'm taking breaks from Facebook and restricting my time on social media. I'm seeking to put Him first.

But I know that no matter how much I fail (which I'm sure to do), no matter how much I do what I do not want to do, His grace is sufficient for my sins.

And that's enough.

"Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25a).


Keep Your Eyes On Him

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 16:8 

That's it. These words of Scripture have become what I'm hanging onto for life. It doesn't matter what you or I face, it applies. Keep your eyes on the Lord. 

When things are going good, keep your eyes on the Lord. When you're afraid, keep your eyes on the Lord. When you're angry, keep your eyes on the Lord. When you're swallowing up in your sins and you feel like there's no escaping, keep your eyes on the Lord. 

When life is at its worst, keep your eyes on Him.

Because He promises to walk with us and to never forsake us. He promises that He will always love us. He promises that He has plans for our lives, plans to prosper and not to harm.

He doesn't promise that things will always be good, because trials are inevitable. 
He promises that we will not be shaken if we just keep our eyes on Him.

Let these life-giving words speak volumes into your heart tonight. It's what I'm holding onto. 

No matter what you're going through, fix your eyes on the Lord.

Image via Pinterest


This Is My Story

Every day is a new page. The Creator of this world and of all of creation is also the Creator of stories and of new beginnings. Oh how He loves creating new things out of dust, out of the broken, out of the ones who have no choice in the darkest times but to fall upon His feet!

He uses our broken past and writes a story that is oh so beautiful. The Creator saw a plan, and He didn't give up.

We all have a story.
While these words were previously written by me for a different purpose, they remain true today. Because of Jesus, I am loved. Because of Jesus, I am forgiven. Because of Jesus, I can live a life of putting Him first...and know that when I mess up, His grace abounds.

God didn't give up on me, and He won't give up on you either. This is my story:

 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

The words of Jesus have touched my heart and shaped my life. I live to bring glory to God, to make Him and His Kingdom my utmost priority, and to share His love to the world. I seek to live a life of putting Jesus Christ first. But it wasn’t always this way.
As a child, I believed in God. I found pleasure in reading my children’s Bible and going to church on holidays with my family. But that wasn’t enough. I lived a life of being a good person and being kind to others, but God wasn’t at the forefront. I didn’t truly know who Jesus was and why He did what He did. However, God began moving. Around the age of eight or nine, I began to fully understand that the power of prayer was real and of the character of God as He answered my prayers. I began to pray on a daily basis.
In the summer of 2010, God used two girls, an empty YMCA exercise room, and a website called Wonderzone to lead me to Him. After meeting these new friends, I was introduced to Wonderzone; through joining the Bible study group as well as playing the games and Biblical “adventures” on the site, I eventually gave my life to Christ in the fall of 2010. My entire mindset was changed. I did not stop reading His Word in the Bible study group. My family and I began frequently attending the church God had placed in our lives since before my birth, but at the new campus that was built near our home. My life was no longer about putting myself first and being a good person. It was about living for Jesus Christ.
However, I struggled with doubting my salvation and continued to ask Jesus into my heart and to forgive me from my sins several times in 2010 and 2011. I began to pray that God would reveal to me somehow if I was truly saved. On October 5, 2011, God spoke through a guest speaker at youth group about rededicating my life to Him. I felt the Lord speaking to me more than ever before that night, and I rededicated my life once and for all. I would no longer have to question my salvation. My faith grew much stronger after that night, as I decided to solely pursue Jesus and a life following Him.
Since starting high school in 2012 (and even now as a graduate!), I have grown in my relationship with God everyday. I have grown closer to Him and have learned to depend on Him in every circumstance. When the tough times have come, I have found joy and peace in knowing that He is on my side. He has done so much work in my life over the past four years, building patience, and love, and the fruits of the Spirit into my heart and mind. In my struggle with shyness, He has given me strength to overcome. He has placed a longing in my heart to encourage and uplift others. Most of all, I have learned to put Him first. Through God’s prompting on my heart to do a social media fast the summer before my junior year, He has trained me to spend time with Him on a daily basis. I have learned that when I seek God and His Kingdom first, everything falls into place. By putting Him before my homework and studies, and first in all that I do, success has come—a success that could not have existed without Him.
I continue to grow in my relationship with God everyday. I am not perfect, and I constantly stray from His ways, but His mercy and His grace never fail to amaze me. In my moments of weakness, His arms are wide open. He calls me to Him and accepts me as I am. He looks past the flaws and the scars and sees the righteousness of His Son instead. I am so grateful for the love of Jesus and how He has moved in my life. Today, He has continued to teach me to pray diligently and to seek Him first. He has revealed to me that no matter how 'good' I am, only in Jesus am I righteous in His sight. He has called me to trust in Him in every circumstance, even when uncertainty about the future fills my heart and my faith weakens. He has called me to create a blog and write for Him. He has called me to encourage and uplift others. 
He has called me to go into this world and be bold. 

This is my story. What's yours?