Sin is ugly,― very very ugly. It deprives all the goodness, joyousness and inner contentment from our lives and makes us miserable. Sin is self-seeking and uncontrollable. Sin locks us in a dark cell where there is no fresh air nor light. Sin likes to be hidden under pious faces and external politeness. In a word, sin is our foremost enemy.
Last night, I had an intense struggle in my thought-world. Dirty thoughts tried to find a way to invade my inner shelter and knock me down. I was overwhelmed by the ugliness and vileness of my own sins. I tried to fight back but I felt myself so weak and carnal in front of this gigantic evilness. So I slept in tears and with heavy spirit.
His mercies, however did not leave me. “Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23). In the morning, I found deep consolation when I read Romans 7 where Paul confessed his own struggles with sins. If Paul was still living, I wanted to write a letter and thanked him for sharing his own struggles with us in public.
"For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do" (Rom 7:15).
"For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom 7:22-23).
Yes, Paul! This was exactly what I struggled last night! You had such a victorious life but even you, being a great man of God had inner struggles. How much more, O Lord, I need Thy mercies and power to overcome my sins!
Then I started to read the diary of David Brainerd. Like Paul, he did not hide his own struggles and I do appreciate his honesty, for I have received so much consolations and spiritual help from his journal. For example, Saturday, Sep 4, he started his dairy as follows;
Much out of health, exceedingly depressed in my soul, and at an awful distance from God.
But he did not allow himself to remain in this condition. Hear what he says as follows;
Towards night spent some time in profitable thoughts on Rom 8:2, “For the law of the spirit of life.”
Then at night, he prayed. And through prayer, he regained his deep communion with God. Hear what he says;
Near night had a very sweet season in prayer. God enabled me to wrestle ardently for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom, pleaded earnestly for my own dear brother John, that God would make him more of a pilgrim and stranger on the earth, and fit him for singular serviceableness in the world; and my heart sweetly exulted in the Lord.
There are four-character idiomatic phrases called yoji-jukugo in Japanese (equivalent to the Chinese Chengyu) and these phrases convey rich meanings. Nana korobi yaoki is one of my favorite idioms.
|from up to down; Nana=seven, korobi=fall, ya=eight, oki=stand up.|
It means, “even if we fall seven times, we stand up eight times, always rising after a fall, undaunted perseverance.”
"Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me."Micah 7:8
"He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8
Six days after David Brainerd wrote the above struggles, he expressed his holy desire as follows;
(Fri.Sep.10.) Longed with intense desire after God; my whole soul seemed impatient to be conformed to Him, and to become ‘holy, as He is holy.’ In the afternoon, prayed with a dear friend privately, and had the presence of God with us; our souls united together to reach after a blessed immortality, to be unclothed of the body of sin and death, and to enter the blessed world, where no unclean thing enters. O, with what intense desire did our souls long for that blessed day, that we might be freed from sin, and forever live to and in our God!
We might fall but we stand up again. And we continue our earthly journey until we reach our celestial city one day.