Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 May 2020 Romans 7:15.

Romans 7:15.    For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would  (want to do), that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.
 
And would you believe it, snow has been forecasted for this weekend in certain areas, where spring should just be blooming along nicely? Let’s hope none falls in my area. But that just goes to show the temperamental kind of climate we have nowadays; snow in almost the middle of May, on Mother’s Day weekend to boot! But we’re already locked down so a li’l snow won’t make much of a difference. (smile) And what else is new eh? Life nowadays is just completely zig zag, contrary, up in the air, and confusion reigns! 

But there’s no confusion with our friend Anselm though, he’s still sent us a full slate of quotes as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And like he was on a self-improvement kick this past week. Hn! And this first quote speaks directly to that situation. ‘Never neglect an opportunity for self-improvement.’ Now that’s a mighty truth and rather wise advice my people, especially in these oh so discombobulating times! Self -improvement ought to be an ongoing regime we all take very seriously, for if we don’t keep improving, we’ll die a slow and uninteresting death while we’re still alive. (smile) 

That brings us to this next quote: ‘Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have laboured hard for.’ Now that’s also wise advice, and we should always endeavour to learn from others, but the way it’s put, it doesn’t sound too ethical, like you’re stealing what others worked so hard for. But it’s like I always told my children, the best way to learn is from other people’s mistakes. That will prevent you from making the same ones they made. 

However, we all have our own bag of mistakes to make, and learning from others won’t stop you from making your own personal bundle, but it will certainly cut down on the overall total of mistakes in your life. If you learn from others, you might just make fifty instead of a hundred and fifty! (smile) Then there’s this: ‘Work on yourself more than you do on your job.’ Well that one I really don’t know about nuh. It seems somewhat unethical as well as unchristian. (smile) Jesus tells us we ought to work very diligently at our jobs, but this tells us we must work harder on ourselves than we do on our jobs. 

Now we certainly must work hard at improving ourselves, but it seems that if we work harder on ourselves than we do on our jobs, we’re short-changing our employer, because we’re not giving of our best on the job. So what am I to say eh? Too much seemingly ethical stuff to deal with this morning. (smile) So let’s just say that we must work hard at improving ourselves and also give our best on our jobs! Matter fix! 

And now we come to this oh so important quote: ‘Be the type of person you want to meet.’ Yes friends, that’s the awesome truth in spades! If you want to have friends, then you must show yourself to be friendly! You can’t be constantly miserable and grouchy and expect others to befriend you. Likewise, if you want to be around interesting and learned folks, you have to also show some of those qualities. 

It’s true that you ought to try and associate with those of higher intellect and aspirations than yours, so that you can learn from them, but you also have to bring something to the table, you can’t just come and expect to grab everything and not contribute anything. Although that’s the way of the world nowadays; we’re all just grabby-grabby and greedy, selfish as the day is long! The first person pronoun ‘Me, myself and I’ seem to be the most important  words in our vocabulary these day. 

Then we come to this last quote. The kick-tail one: ‘There is no challenge more challenging than the challenge to improve yourself.’ And anyone who has seriously tried to improve themselves will certainly know and readily agree with that. We all try to improve ourselves, but for one reason or another, most of the time we fall short. We lose our passion, get lazy, other more important things intrude, we get busy and run out of time, we make excuses when we find out how hard it is to truly improve, whatever. But self-improvement never comes easily or goes along without difficulties and interruptions. 

And I think a good scriptural example of that is Bruh Paul’s dilemma in his epistle to the Romans. ‘For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal (fleshly), sold under sin. For that which I do I allow (understand) not: for what I would  (want to do), that do I not: but what I hate, that do I.’ (Rom. 7:14-15) Don’t we all  occasionally find ourselves in that dilemma? Most certainly! Bruh Paul was trying to improve his spiritual life, but like us, he struggled with his two natures; the easy and extremely attractive law and lust of our flesh, and the much more difficult and less enticing path, that of walking in the Spirit of God. 

The scholars offer this explanation. ‘7:14. The law is spiritual: The law has the characteristics of the Spirit and is consistent with the character of God. I am carnal: What follows is autobiographical and designed to reveal the real struggle the apostle experienced in the flesh. His experience is also exemplary, for it shows the problems all believers experience in their battle with sin.’ 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul was a man like us with struggles like us. As he further argues: ‘If then I do that which I would not (don’t want to do), I consent (agree) unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would (want to do) I do not: but the evil which I would not  (don’t want to do), that I do.’ (Rom. 7:16-19) 

Oh my people, challenges will always come along when we try to improve ourselves, especially in the Christian faith. In fact, life itself is a challenge, and trying to live it successfully is possibly our biggest challenge. (smile) It lead Bruh Paul to frustratingly declare: ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?’ (Rom. 7:24) 

And the scholars explain thus: ‘7:24. O wretched man: The reference here is to Paul’s tragic condition of defeat and frustration with sin. The body of this death is not the physical body, but the inherited sin nature received from Adam. It is that in him which is continually inclined toward thoughts and deeds that yield only (spiritual) death.’  

But in the end, he certainly knew where to find solace from his struggles: ‘I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.’ (Rom. 7:25) Yes my faithful brethren, in Christ, we find the answer to ALL of our struggles! Much LOVE!

…come unto me…all you who labour…and are heavy burdened…and I will give you rest…

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