Today I am pondering the me that I am and the me I want to be. The two are not the same, though I fervently wish they were. In one of my posts last week I wondered if I am the same here on the computer screen as I am in car line or at a basketball game. The answer to the question is, sadly, I am not. Neither reflects the full picture of me, yet both are true. I do not pretend that either portrait is perfect nor complete.
I also wrote that I feared the hypocrite within, and I do. For good reason, as Jesus had many harsh words for those guilty of hypocrisy, the Pharisees who made a pretense of their good works and religious fervor for personal gain and elevated self righteousness (see Matt. 23:25-28); truly they have their reward in full He ominously promises.
With the dichotomy between the me I am and the me I should be, the me who longs to be found faithful and the me who stumbles and falls and sins and rebels and offends…am I the hypocrite? I confess that sometimes, yes, I am. Sometimes I care more for my own sense of self righteousness than I care for the glory of the Lord. Sometimes I want the approval of others and sometimes I seek after it. Sometimes I bring reproach upon my Lord by the way I act in car line, at the grocery store, in my home before my husband and children.
For this, and more, I repent. My conviction is heavy and my guilt is great.
I find comfort in Romans 7 where Paul describes his struggle, and mine, between what is and what should be…
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:15-25)
Like Paul, I don’t understand myself. I don’t do what I want to do. I am not the me I want to be. Instead, like Paul, I do what I don’t want to do. I am not the me I should be and want to be and ought to be. I sin. I rebel. I exalt myself. I understand Paul’s dilemma: I too delight in the Word of God, but inside I am wretched and at war with my flesh.
I need a Savior. Like Paul, I cry out, Who will set me free? And like Paul, I rejoice with thanksgiving as I acknowledge that my salvation and my freedom come through the Lord Jesus Christ! Thanks be to God!
My struggle with the me I am and the me I am not will endure as long as I draw breath. You will not find perfection in me, not here on the computer screen and not in car line. Instead, as I wrote last week, what I am is an ordinary woman, a sinner, a wretched no good hypocrite, saved by the glorious grace of a sovereign loving God. It is through Christ I am set free! In Him I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin according to the riches of His grace which He has lavished on me, not of my own doing, but the gift of God! To the praise of His glory!