"God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn't deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all...The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it...
"Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them — living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored."
From The Message, Romans 8: 3-8
My circumstances were never my problem. Circumstances are never anyone's major problem. I don't know that from special spiritual insight, (ha..as if!) I just know it because I can read. And today I can understand and accept what I read a little better. Used to, I didn't want either to accept or understand.
My circumstances were never my problem. Character flaws were my problem. Foolishness, pride, selfishness, denial about sin and denial about my flaws. And most of all, as I heard it neatly wrapped up one time, "the false illusion that I could handle life without God."
For most of us, it takes suffering some pretty bad stuff to knock that out of us. When the bombs fall, Paul suggests we make good use of those mistakes. By conforming us to his Son, God does that, through his grace and our faith. We can either be about the hard, hard work of character change, or we can pray that God will zap us. It seems that Paul really strongly urges us to excercise "in real life" the new moral muscle we've been given.
Even when I was in my most pitiful state, God never struck me as the lazy sort. He doesn't want me to be lazy either. He isn't pleased at being ignored. And the Lord of the Sabbath, the Lord of rest and perfect peace, isn't pleased at lazy. "Rest...in me." I tried working outside of Him and resting outside of Him. That got me nowhere, really fast. All that did was make life miserable for me and for the people who really did love me. Maybe it could be different for you. It wasn't for me.
Who can deliver us from ourselves? "Thanks be..."