5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8 (New King James Version)
5-8Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in themliving and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn't pleased at being ignored. Romans 8:5-8 (The Message)
I love reading passages of the Bible in different translations to find different perspectives of what is said. The first passage that I quoted above is from the New King James Version of the Bible, the second is the same passage, Romans 8:5-8, from The Message. While the first is perhaps more accurate in word for word translation, the second is more accurate in feeling. In this passage, Paul is telling us that we need to focus more on the grace of His Holy Spirit and the work he is doing in our hearts and our lives. I fear that one of the strongest temptations we face as BL's is to look inside ourselves and hate what we see so much that we fail to see that God is at work in our lives 24-7.
We look inside and see that we still have an attraction to boys and we just hate ourselves for it. Then we wonder how our Father can love us when we are so unlovable. Why can't we somehow just MAKE ourselves more presentable to Him? Why do we always seem to keep going round and round the same old thoughts and deeds without ever getting any better? How can God accept us like this...how can He use us like this? But what I think Paul is trying to tell us here is that when we quit our continual obsession with picking ourselves apart, always negative, always condemning ourselves...when we quit that stuff and instead focus on what the Word says we have, we will indeed be free!
We obsess about how sinful our thoughts are, when we should be dwelling on how loving and forgiving our Lord is, and how he has given us a new heart that is both loving and forgiving. We worry that maybe we have lusted after a boy when we should be praising God for creating us AND that boy in His image and making it possible for us to be able to lead that boy to Him. There is a whole world of possibilities for us if we will only learn to focus on God instead of ourselves and trust His work in our lives.
Lord, please help us to learn to turn our eyes towards you instead of focusing on ourselves. When we are tempted to condemn ourselves, remind us of your good work in our lives and how great your love and grace really is. When we can keep our eyes completely focused on you, we will be able to take one more step in becoming like your Son, Jesus. In His name we pray....Amen!