Romans 7:15-20 (The Message)
What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means–the only complete realist.
– C.S. Lewis
Pale sunlight, pale the wall.
Love moves away, the light changes.
I need more grace than I thought. -Rumi
Everybody is tempted. It is a myth that says you’re going to get to a point in your spiritual life where you’re not tempted. In fact, the more mature you become, the more Satan is going to put you on his “most wanted” list. If we were more consistent in confessing our temptations, we wouldn’t have to confess our sins.- Rick Warren
Extended Quote Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
As Paul taught, “The angels of darkness must disguise themselves as angels of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Any idealized persona does not choose to see evil in itself, so it always disguises it as good. The shadow self invariably presents its own selfishness as something like prudence, common sense, justice, or “I am doing this for your good,” when it is actually manifesting fear, control, manipulation, or even vengeance. (The name Lucifer literally means the “light bearer.” The evil one always makes darkness look like light—and makes light look like darkness.)
Invariably when something upsets you, and you have a strong emotional reaction out of proportion to the moment, your shadow self has just been exposed. So watch for any overreactions or over-denials in yourself. When you notice them, the cock has just crowed (Mark 14:68)!
The reason that a mature or saintly person can be so peaceful, so accepting of self and others, is that there is not much hidden shadow self left. (There is always and forever a little more, however! No exceptions. Shadow work never stops.) The denied and disguised self takes so much energy to face, awaken, and transform that normally you have little energy left to project your fear, anger, or unlived life onto others.
I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul,
to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul
take a long,
only time can help and patience,
and a certain difficult repentance,
long difficult repentance,
realizations of life’s mistake,
and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
-D.H. Lawrence, Healing
If leaf trash chokes the stream-bed, reach for rock-bottom as you rake the muck out.
– Marie Ponsot, Springing: New and Select Poems
Extended quote by Steve Garnaas Holmes from Neither good nor bad
“Sin” is not that we’re bad people.
It’s that we don’t know how to love perfectly,
even when we try.
We’re playing hard for the home team
but keep accidentally scoring for the opponents.
In the war between good and evil
we’re on the right side,
but we keep shooting our own with friendly fire.
God understands, and forgives us.
God delivers us from the hopeless battle:
we are neither “good” nor “bad;”
we are beloved.
When we let that grace course through our veins,
let that love move through our bodies,
become the bodies of that spirit,
then it is God who lives in us,
who loves perfectly through us.
When Trouble Comes, What Kind Is It?
The Scriptures speak of three kinds of “trouble” for the believer:
1) Discipline, judgment, or rebuke from the Lord;
2) tests, trials, persecutions, suffering; and
3) temptations or attacks from Satan.
So when trouble comes, what type is it?
Is this God directly moving to correct me, or is this the promised persecution for following Christ, or have we allowed Satan access into our lives?
Which kinds of trouble can be avoided? Which can’t?
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