A Prayer about the Gospel War Going on Inside
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Rom. 7:22-25
Dear Lord Jesus, though I’m conflict avoidant by nature and by choice, the conflict Paul describes in this passage is one I’m am actually quite excited about. The very fact that there’s a war going on inside of me is a good thing, especially since the combatants are the gospel and my sinful nature. For this means I belong to you, and it also means the outcome of this war has already been decided. The gospel will prevail. Yet I’m not naïve about the “mop-up” operation. Growing in grace is often messy and intense.
Lord Jesus, the only reason I now delight in God’s law is because the demands of the law drove me to you. The law demands a perfection and righteousness I could never attain. I needed a substitute and a Savior, not a model and a coach. You perfectly met all the requirements of God’s law for me, and, on the cross, you exhausted his judgment against all my law breaking. This is the best news ever.
The messy part of growth comes from your commitment to make me like yourself. You are more committed to getting “heaven” in me than getting me into heaven. Why couldn’t you have just glorified me after justifying me? It would’ve been so much easier. Why couldn’t we have just skipped over the whole sanctification process? Silly questions, indeed. I’m just very thankful to know that one Day I will be as loving and as lovely as you, for the Father will complete his work in each of his children, including me.
So until that Day, allow me to grieve the sinfulness of sin—the sinfulness of my sins. Now that I’m no longer guilty or condemned, let me fearlessly see my sins, ruthlessly hate my sins, and relentlessly repent of my sins. Increase my love for holiness and decrease my self-contempt. Only the gospel can bring me such freedom. Only by seeing more of you, Lord Jesus, will I find great beauty in holiness and great joy in this journey.
You are the end of all my wretchedness. You are the one who continues to rescue me from this “body of death”—all the effects and residue of the fall, all the trappings of my grave clothes, every semblance of every way I’m not like you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So very Amen I pray, in your most powerful and loving name.