WFW: Undeserved Strength
I've been thinking a lot about God's grace... Grace, as defined in the Bible, means "undeserved strength." That is why Jesus said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The Bible commands us to walk in the spirit. Still, we all have those times when we feel as if we just can't do it. Not that it's impossible to walk in the spirit; but rather we try, we fail, we try, we fail, etc. I have been wrestling with this problem no matter how much I hear and read on the topic. See, the truth is, we can't do it on our own, and we know that. But how can we walk in the spirit when we keep caving in to our flesh? We can do alll things through Christ who strengthens us, right? So we're not to try doing it on our own, but if we are really walking in the Spirit, shouldn't we be able to stay in the spirit? If "where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty," and "whom the Son sets free is free indeed," shouldn't we be able to stay free instead of continually shrinking back into bondage? More specifically, how do we walk in the spirit? The Bible defines this as not walking in the flesh, but how do we do that? (Forgive me if I sound too niave, but we all struggle with questions sometimes. And that doesn't mean there aren't answers to these questions.) So often, I feel like Paul: "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:19-23).
But, with the Lord's help, I have come to realize that grace is what helps us to do that; it is God's strength that helps us to walk it out. There are numerous Scriptures on this topic, but there are a few that I've read all my life it seems, but am only just now seeing it through this different lense.
Romans 6:14 states, "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Okay... we've read it a million times, right? But did you notice that it says that sin doesn't have dominion over us BECAUSE we are under grace? What this is saying is that sin has no control over us because of the grace of God -- because of this undeserved strength! That is how we walk in the spirit!
A verse later (vs. 16-17), Paul says, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered." So how do we become free from sin? We obey from the heart what the Word of God tells us to do! That is how we utilize this grace that God has given us. Then, if the Son makes us free, we shall be truly free.
In fact, right after the passage where Paul bemoans his plight to do what he does not wish to do, he says (vs. 24-25), "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Jesus gives us the victory! How? Paul tells us how; immediately following this verse, he launches into Romans 8 where he talks about the flesh verses the spirit. Jesus gives us the victory through His Spirit. Paul states, "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh"; the way that we do that is through grace! In fact, the Bible mentions "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ" numerous times; so the Spirit of God and the grace of God go hand-in-hand -- Jesus gives us His grace so that we can walk in His Spirit and "have our fruit to holiness," a state in which we are free from sin. Now that is true victory!