Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 21, 2011

The Me I Want To Be

The beautiful sun streaming through my window this morning reminds me that it will soon be time for my annual spring cleaning ritual. Each year I face this task with a mixture of eager excitement and loathsome dread. I love to knock down the cobwebs, scrub the windows until they sparkle, and empty out the closets of a year’s worth of throwing and tossing. At the same time, however, I never look forward to the disorder and confusion that the whole process creates. Not only do my daily routines get lost in the shuffle of buckets, mops, and brooms, but it seems that the more I clean, the more I see that needs to be done. Gradually my happy anticipation is replaced with a desire to just get it all finished so I can resume my normal, everyday activities.

Over the years I have tried to prevent this downward spiral in several different ways. I tried careful planning, pulling out a piece of paper and listing all the projects I wanted to tackle. I tried spreading out my work over an entire month, reasoning that small periods of confusion here and there might be better than an entire week of disorder. I even tried to keep myself motivated by planning something fun to do at the end of the week after I finished all my projects.

As I think about it, I almost wonder if a clean house is really worth all the work and frustration, but then I remember how good it feels when everything is fresh, clean, and renewed. And in spite of the work, I am also reminded of the joy in the process. When the kids were little they loved “riding” on the couches and chairs as they were moved around the room. It was fun gathering on the front porch and sharing a bag of burgers for dinner when the kitchen was too messed up to cook. I can remember much laughing and joking as we worked together to clean and straighten up.

Sometimes I approach my life the same way I do my house. I look at myself and I may not like what I see. I decide that I need to change some things. I may even pull out a piece of paper and make a list of bad habits I want to break or good habits I want to cultivate. I may set goals and target dates for accomplishment. Or I may plan rewards to inspire me to stay focused. And all the while I’ll be thinking one day my life is going to be different. I’m going to like the me I see.

However, through the years I’ve discovered that while I may accomplish some of my goals and make some changes in my life, true lasting change is not something that I can do in and of myself. This is true no matter how much I may want to change, how hard I may work at it, or how many good intentions I have. The apostle Paul experienced the same frustration. As he stated in Romans 7:15: “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Is that the way you feel sometimes, too? The problem is we really want to do what is right, but we just can’t seem to do it. This is essentially a war that goes inside us between our desire to seek God and do His will and our old sinful natures that draw us away. Paul cries out in Romans 7:24: “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” And then he replies: “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

When we confess our sin and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He forgives us and cleanses us from all our sin. We actually become a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). What is more, Christ is actually living within us. His Spirit resides within every believer to help transform us into the image of Christ. While we may battle and struggle with our old sinful natures, we can be victorious when we yield to the Spirit within us. Among many other things, the Holy Spirit helps us (see John 14:16-26), guides us (see John 16:13), gives us discernment and understanding (see 1 Corinthians 2:10-16), and gives us power (see Micah 3:8). Ezekiel 36:27 states: “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

It is through Christ’s Spirit within me that I can little by little become more like the me I want to be. I know that I am still a work in progress and that I will stumble, but I also know that Christ is faithful and He will complete His work in me (see Philippians 1:6). And just as my family found some measure of joy in our annual spring cleaning ritual, I know that even when I falter or go through difficult experiences that there is still joy in my walk with Christ. As David exclaimed in Psalm 16:11: “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” And what greater joy than to know one day I’ll see Jesus face to face and that finally I will become the me I want to be!

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