Jesus talked about a heart change that totally transforms the believer. Beyond a quick walk to the altar and a simple prayer of repentance, He anticipated an experience that transported mere humans from dead in sin to alive in the Spirit of God.
Am I the only one that sometimes fails to live up to that ideal. When I read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and see the words "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new," my latest pique of temper or discouragement doesn't feel like abundant life.
I will leave the weightier discussion of gradual versus instantaneous sanctification to better trained theologians. This blog is about the pain of not living up to my own expectations of myself and the christian life.
While my sins have improved over the years (at least on the sin-o-meters used by most denominations and the Roman Catholic Church,) there are times when I cry out to God and ask, "aren't I better than this by now?" Does my immaturity have more to do with self-indulgence or lack of faith? I wonder.
The writings of James hold comfort after the conviction drives me to the Word. "For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body." God knew we would not find perfection on this planet. The best we can hope for is to shoot for the mark of the high calling of God.
Lately, I've been saying the Lord's Prayer twice a day before breakfast and as I head to bed. Those perfect words have challenged me in a way I'd forgotten. Abiding in the Vine is a full-time job. As a sheep, I'm prone to wandering and forgetting. I really do need God to forgive my sins as I forgive those that have sinned against me. I need it every single day.
So as I get ready for bed. My religion returns to me, pure and undefiled...for who feels more like an orphan in need of grace than the believer seeking God's mercy.