Scarcely a day goes by without a struggle between what I want to do and what I finally end up doing. I face an ongoing battle with my sinful nature. God’s awareness of my struggle makes it all the worse. God knows.
God knows who we are, and we allow people to know who
we are as well. Yet, don’t we fear showing our dark side? We tend to hide our weaknesses and sinful selves from others. And while the voice of our sin is strong, the voice of God’s forgiveness is stronger.
Paul does not address evildoers; he speaks to good, conscientious Christians who, despite their best intentions, fall prey to sin. As we often say, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” We face the divide between willing and doing, and that is part of our human condition. God does not encourage dwelling on sin; God invites us to experience a new heart and a new spirit. “Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! . . . I have no pleasure in the death of anyone. . . . Turn, then, and live” (Ezek. 18:31-32).
Nothing we do can overcome sin’s power; that task falls to God who has accomplished it through Jesus Christ. We cannot escape our sinful nature, but God can take all our mixed motives, good or evil intentions and turn them to divine service.
Henry Nouwen taught that “we can carry in our heart all human pain and sorrow, all conflicts and agonies . . . because God’s heart has become one with ours.” And as Paul reminds us so eloquently in Romans 8:39, nothing in creation “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Heavenly Father, lead us to seek you in our daily lives that we may come face-to-face with your love and understanding. We long for our hearts to become one with yours. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

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Lectionary Week
July 3–9, 2017
Scripture Overview

The Genesis text tells of Abraham’s quest to find a bride for Isaac from among his own people. In opting for Isaac, Rebekah makes herself the instrument for the preservation of the promise; God’s intentions are sure. A hymn honoring the marriage commitment is a good pairing with Genesis, since the Song of Solomon addresses the sweetness of love. Romans 7 depicts a battle of human life. Here the strong desire to do good and serve God rightly is threatened by the enemy of sin. Jesus’ prayer in Matthew recalls that knowledge of sin’s defeat often comes to those “infants” to whom God has granted revelation.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67. How difficult is it for you to trust that God will act for your good, even if you nd yourself waiting?
• Read Song of Solomon 2:8-13. Whose voice have you known as beloved? How did it waken you to creation’s beauty?
• Read Romans 7:15-25a. How might you let God’s understanding love make a change in your actions?
• Read Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30. Jesus offers rest for our souls. How do you tap into that wonderful offer?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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