For example, our homeschooling has totally become lax and without real structure. But, that's been something easy to put off. It wouldn't be physically taxing or extremely stressful, and yet I'm having trouble writing lesson plans and implementing ones I've already planned. (This is shameful, but I haven't even put up our January counting calendar yet, and it's almost February!)
|Actually an emptier sink, than at present in my kitchen.|
Laundry stays piled and unfolded much longer than I care to admit.
I don't go to the grocery store until we are practically out of or even completely out of basics like bread and milk. I mostly dread having to carry the bags up the stairs by myself, as there is no way to get into my house without climbing a bunch of stairs somewhere.
|These are my real slippers and nightgown.|
I won't tell you what time of day this was taken ;)
Things that used to get cleaned on a regular basis aren't cleaned quite so regularly any more. Let's just say unless we're having company over, many things go longer than I would like.
I can look at all of these things and know and even want for them to be done, and yet I don't want it enough most of the time to just do it!
This reminds me of the sinful nature in us all. We are in bondage to our lusts, our flesh, our own selfishness. We might even regret what we do and wish things were different, but we can't stop. and the Bible makes it clear why we can't stop. We are spiritually dead, unable to do anything, just as a corpse can't get out of a coffin, but is bound to be buried in it.
Just as when Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days, and only Christ could raise him to life again, we cannot be raised to new life or to freedom from death apart from Christ. We are dead and can't do anything to get out of it. We are simply buried in sin and self awaiting the blessed words from Christ saying, "come forth."(John 11:38-44)
And still we have the markings of one raised from the dead. We still have the markings of one who was dead. When Lazarus came out of the tomb he was "bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin"(John 11:44). It's easy to stay there to look down at the death clothes and despair of life as we look like one dead, to look only back at our sins and the past in sorrow.
|The tomb of Lazarus at Bethany|
God doesn't leave us there in the death clothes or in the coffin. He calls us out and in spite of the fact that we look and smell like the grave, He bids us to not live as though we are still dead.
I've been reading through Ephesians daily this month in an effort to become more familiar with this book, and have been struck by the passage in Ch.2:1-9 "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
These things were of my past, and yet I can still taste them, still partake of them. The most wonderful truth is to know that I had nothing to do with my own salvation in and of my own power, because I was dead. I couldn't have made the right choice if I wanted to, again, I was dead in sin. And yet God out of love raised us from the dead to show His grace and kindness to me through Christ Jesus. It was a gift, and I could no more control His giving me this gift than I could control anyone giving me a gift. I can't boast in what I have done or am doing or despair of what I have done or am doing. All of my hope, all chance of salvation, and all power to be raised from the dead unto eternal life, rests entirely upon God's love and mercy and the sacrifice and atoning death of Jesus Christ when He took my place by bearing the wrath of God meant for me at the cross of Calvary.
So, even as I despair or become convicted over my still present flesh-pleasing tendencies, my longing to justify selfishness with anything I can( *sigh* even the excuse of being pregnant), the hope lies in knowing that we are no longer dead, and we have been justified and our sins pardoned through Christ reconciling us to God.
I cannot change what I have done or not done, but I can go on from this moment, by God's grace, to live as one alive and unbound leaving all of the clothes and signs of death behind.