"I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." - Romans 7:15-8:1
I had a conversation with a good friend of mine last night about confidence in our salvation. We agreed that neither of us are afraid of going to hell - we are not worried that if we die, we won't see Jesus in heaven. Neither of us are perfect, but we trust in Jesus' finished work on the Cross.
I always wondered about the above passage of scripture - I wanted to know what it was that Paul battled. What was his battle? What was his struggle? What caused Paul, the great apostle, to stumble or fall? What was Paul's weakness? It always bothered me that he didn't talk about it, but someone pointed out that perhaps, if Paul had made it specific, people would have isolated his point to that one issue, rather than take the bigger principle that Paul lays out - every believer will have a struggle between his renewed mind and his fallen flesh, and some days the old man wins. I think that's right.
People like boundaries; they like rules. They seem to like them especially in religion. But that's not what Christianity is about - it's not a set of rules, a list of do's and don't's wherein we find our salvation. It's about relationship, and relationship is dynamic. That's not to say that there aren't absolutes - there are - but Christianity can't be static. It can't exist as a set of rules.
Because of the dynamic nature of real Christianity, I sometimes battle with doubt. I went through a pretty dark period a while ago, and I was ready to turn away from all of it. It wasn't even that I didn't believe God existed - I did. I know this because I was mad at Him. I didn't feel like He was coming through for me when I needed Him. He did, and the period that followed was one of incredible spiritual growth, healing, and restoration.
But I have doubts. Nagging questions, causing me to think and wonder and daydream and lay awake at night wondering, asking "What if?" to the shadows on the wall. It's these doubts that, each morning, drive me again to my knees. These questions that don't have answers cause me to dig deeper into the Bible, to hear what God has to say to me. These doubts and these questions challenge my faith, and my faith silences my doubt.
It's a continual battle that I fight inside my mind and my heart, and while there are a lot of things that cause me to ask "What if?", I never doubt that Jesus is very near, and that He loves me, and that when I go, I will be with Him in heaven.
Sometimes I want to cry out like Paul, how wretched I am! Where is my hope? Then I'm gently reminded by faith - Glory to God through my Lord Jesus. I'm not condemned because I wonder - I'm better because of it. It drives me to pray, to study, to read, to think, and to trust in Him.