I am an 'already but not yet' person. I am an 'already' because I have given my life to Christ, I am a new creation, Christ lives in me. I have experienced freedom in my life from the past. I have felt joy that can only be found through a relationship with Jesus. But I am also a 'not yet'. I still struggle with sin. I don't have it all together...believe me. I make more mistakes than I can count. I say the wrong thing and do the wrong thing. I have the ability to hurt others feelings. I am tempted to gossip and/or be angry with people because they don't do what I want. I am a 'not yet'. I hate that I am a 'not yet'...because that means that I don't have it all together. According to Derek Morphew, author of Breakthrough, "We are glorious contradictions." I am encouraged by Paul, one of God's most faithful servants, when he says:
When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being, I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin....What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:22-25 NIV)
Even Paul, who endured both physical and emotional torments because he loved God so much dealt with the struggle of sin. When I first started writing this, I felt the hopelessness of the 'not yet'. I don't want to dwell in that arena. After reading Paul's agonized accounting...I realize that God rescues us from that pit. He helps us to avoid temptation. He forgives us when we fail...and that we must exist in a realistic outlook. Not a defeatist (we are sinners so therefore until Christ comes we are always going to fail) or even too triumphal because we can live in a spiritual bubble and/or become arrogant that can hurt the name of Jesus. Rather, says the author, it is better to be realistic. "God always leads us in triumph, yet our lives seem like one long battle. As we look within ourselves we sometimes feel victorious, joyful, and free, yet those moments are quickly replaced by feelings of great weakness, fear, and 'groaning' from which we long to escape."
Morphew also writes, "The closer we get to God and the more we experience the in-breaking of the kingdom, the more disturbed we become by the 'not yet' within us. In a strange, contradictory way the more we get from God the more we groan." I can definitely relate.
Closure: More deep thoughts about the kingdom...not professing that I truly understand, but I am learning a lot and am trying to transition from allowing the enemy to make me feel defeated when I screw up, to living realistically...realizing that God is in me, I have the ability to do many good things. But also realizing that I am still going to sin, and although there are consequences, there is also grace.
Lord, forgive me for the mistakes I have made. Help me to do better in the future. Keep breaking through in my life and help me to continue to seek you even when I fail. Don't give up on me Lord.