I burned her toast; she spilled my coffee. I wiped her hands and face roughly in frustration; she reached out and shoved me away. I raised my voice; she threw a tantrum. Daddy had been gone on a work trip for five days; I was frazzled. I needed to get things done; I turned on a cartoon for her. Lunch time came; I was already tired. I offered her vegetables; she turned up her nose. I gave in; she only ate bread. She fought her nap; I fought a headache. When I laid her in bed for the night, I felt only guilt.
I had failed.
I had let my emotions rule the day. I had lost control. I had failed to show grace. I had raised my voice. I had taken out my tiredness on her. I was a failure.
Tomorrow would be just the same, I thought. This was the kind of mom I was. The kind who let her toddler get the best of her. Just awful. There was no point in trying again tomorrow.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Have you ever felt this way?
Paul, the great apostle, did: “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.” (Romans 7:18-19, ESV)
How I can relate to that! “I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” I want to be a better mom. I want to model Christ’s love and grace and truth to my daughter. But I fail every day.
Those failures make it all too easy to get discouraged and fall into the same sinful attitudes and behavior day after day.
But just a few verses later, in Romans 8, Paul offers hope:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do…If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:1-3, 11)
Do you see the hope in those verses? It is true that as Christians, we, like Paul, do what we do not want to do. That is our sin, our flesh, doing what is natural. But, there is hope: We are no longer condemned for those sins, we are set free in Christ, and we are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Rather than causing us to be lazy and give in to sinful actions and thoughts, these verses should spur us to action. We do not battle our sin alone. We have God’s Spirit to help us.
So press on, my friend. We will stumble and fail, but our gracious God does not condemn us because of Jesus. Lean on Him, and He will give grace to try again tomorrow.