Well here I am…
Try as hard as I can, I have done it again. I start every day thinking about what I did yesterday, thinking about what I did wrong.
Thinking about my sins.
Wishing I had not done what I did.
It is very early in the day so I have not done much to get me in trouble with God, but I know as the day continues, I will trip up. I will sin again, probably multiple times. I don’t know what will trigger it, but I know it will happen.
It is just me being me.
You see, I am a human, far from Divine.
The big question is how am I supposed to live this life? Am I supposed to feel defeated? Am I supposed to be discouraged all the time? When I sin, I know I feel discord. My wife says I get “grumpy”. That is mild for what I am feeling. Sometimes it is inner strife and I choose to let it show on the outside as “grumpy.”
Is this the life God intended me to live?
Short answer: no.
Billy Graham begins his book The Holy Spirit with a very plainspoken discussion of what we all need. All men and women fail to live sinless lives: Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Graham says man has two great spiritual needs. One of those needs is forgiveness and the other is goodness.
For many those deep-seated needs go against their nature. To own up to sins and ask for forgiveness means acknowledgement of wrong-doing and a certain amount of humility. For many, to need anything is tough. The asking part is the hardest part. Many people don’t want to admit any need at all and they certainly don’t want to ask anyone for it…even God.
Goodness is problematic for some also. Often times in our world today it seems that goodness has gone “out of style.” What good is goodness in a world where winning is everything. We even have a phrase “good guys finish last” that touts the idea that it is ok to win by any means as long as you win.
Maybe that is why Graham says “Consciously or unconsciously [man] longs for both [forgiveness and goodness]. There are times when man actually cries for them, even though in his restlessness, confusion, loneliness, fear and pressures he may not know what he is crying for” [xi].
In His infinite knowledge, God knows man needs forgiveness and to address those needs, He sent His only Son to die for our sins. This is His gift of forgiveness, His knowledge that humanity is in a constant struggle against sin. The Apostle Paul calls Jesus God’s “indescribable gift” in 2 Corinthians 9:15.
But to be honest, forgiveness is not enough. God knows that men and women need to move beyond their state of affairs to a life that is “good.” I don’t know how many times I have searched for answers for my sins, especially those that reoccur. I have used this example before but reoccurring sin is like going around and around the mountain when I really want to go up the mountain. Sinning, repenting, asking for forgiveness, receiving forgiveness and sinning again is a life that is going nowhere. This is where the Holy Spirit comes in, the power to get us to the next level of that mountain.
Graham was known as a powerful evangelist, but his writing skills are powerful also. Here is a prime example of his ability to drive home his point. “If we wish to be men and women who can live victoriously, we need this two-sided gift God has offered us: first, the work of the Son of God for us; second, the work of the Spirit of God in us [xii].
I am excited about the book The Holy Spirit. I need the power of the Holy Spirit to help me with my aforementioned “inner strife.” I know that the Holy Spirit is the source of power that I need, the power to change a stagnant life to a more vibrant life. The power that I need to get rid of some defeat, discouragement and discord in my life.
The power to quit repeating some of those nagging sins that reoccur.
The power to draw just a little closer to God.