Deb Trojak
Romans 8:1-2

I struggle with consistency. Not only in the small things – like saying no to that second helping of pie. But in the big things – like allowing patience and gentleness to rule my day rather than the frustration and anger that easily rise to the surface. As an adult, I know the things I should be doing. Having been a Christian most of my life, I know the habits, practices, and choices that I should be living.  So why is establishing good habits and patterns so incredibly hard? Why is it easier to do the things that I shouldn’t? Being consistent in my spiritual life is a battle that I feel is vitally important, yet I am consistently inconsistent. I find myself agreeing with Paul in Romans 7:15, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”

I genuinely want to follow Christ. I desire to live the life that He has called me too. I start my morning with hopefulness that today will be different, but I get to the end of the day and look back on all the ways that I completely failed. The times when I lost it with the kids rather than responding to their needs with patience. Or my attitude when something unexpected comes up and throws my idea of how the day should go completely off. This cycle of good intentions and miserable failures can become heavy and tiresome.

Why am I like this? The simple answer – because I’m human. Romans 7:24-25 explains my exact sentiments, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” Ever since the Fall, it has become inherent to my nature to choose what I want over what He wants. Battling my fleshly desires and sins is something I will have to deal with. Every. Single. Day. But how?

The simple answer – grace. Looking at the next chapter in Romans it says, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1-2 NASB) Sometimes my kids give me glimpses into how God views us. Recently one of the Littles came running into the kitchen crying. After asking what was wrong, she confessed that she had been jumping from couch to couch and had fallen and gotten a bit banged up. “Are you supposed to jump on the couches?” I asked. She cried harder with a penitent look and shook her head no, and then I kissed her arm and leg and gave her a hug.

I come to God many times knowing I’ve screwed up. I don’t know why it still surprises me that He offers me grace rather than condemnation. As a parent, I love my kids even when they do the thing-I-have-asked-them-a-million-times-not-to-do. God is a much better parent than I am, and He loves me no matter what. Christ already knows how incapable I am. (Thank goodness for that.) In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” He is always there ready to pick me up, dust me off, kiss my scrapes, and help me move forward.

There is no way that I, on my own, will ever get it right. He is not asking me to do this alone and then condemning me when I fail.  None of this is by my own power. It is His power (and His alone) that gives me the strength to continue trying after I’ve failed yet again. His forgiveness is the only reason that I can continue to fall and yet continue to rise slowly.  To rise, dare I say, consistently?

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