Staff Corner - Pastor Greg Spires
No Way Out
Sam was overworked. His job kept him busy. In addition to his regular work duties, he had agreed to help a co-worker with a project coming up on its deadline. The help he provided meant that Sam worked longer hours and through the weekend to keep up. He felt like he was drowning but didn’t see any way out of his situation.
Sam never asked for help or mentioned the situation to his boss or co-workers. His resentment grew because he felt that his co-workers should have noticed what was going on. While he worked through lunch to keep up, his co-workers would go out and eat together.
Finally, exasperated, Sam quit. His boss was surprised, as well as the rest of the office. None of them knew the work he was carrying. Why didn’t he ask for help?
Researchers have tried to answer that question for years. There are several reasons we are reluctant to ask for help. However, two reasons often drive our reluctance.
First, we want to be self-reliant. We don’t want to need others. Our pride pushes us to do things on our own because we believe we can do things better than the people who might assist us.
Second, we don’t want to feel weak. We assume that if we need help, it means we are week and needy. We prefer to be overwhelmed than ask for help because it makes us feel incapable.
It is vital to keep our reluctance to seek help in mind as we think about our relationship with God. The Bible tells us that having a relationship with God is defined by recognizing that we need help.
In Romans 7:13-25, the Apostle Paul described his struggle with sin. On the one hand, he had a desire to do what God wanted him to do. At the same time, Paul fought with his flesh's appetites because they opposed God's ways. We can hear the desperation in his voice reading Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” He wanted to do what was right and knew sin would lead him nowhere good. However, his appetites continued to lead him to do things he knew were harmful to him spiritually.
Paul’s struggle reached a fever pitch in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” His frustration and desperation led him to the place he needed to be all along: on his knees seeking help from Jesus.
The good news of Jesus gives us freedom from the penalty of sin because Jesus died on the cross and walked out of the grave. But the gospel also gives us freedom from the power of sin. It is the power of God’s grace that provides us with what we need to say “No” to sin and say “Yes” to obedience to God.
How does grace give us power over our sin as we walk with God? First, shame and guilt no longer define who we are. When we sin (and all sin, as it says in 1 John 1:8), grace is there to remind us that Jesus has cleansed us from all our sin: past, present, and future. We can be honest with Him about our sin, and He pours His forgiveness out on us like living water that never ends.
Second, it is God’s grace that leads us to become more like Jesus, by the power of the Spirit. God will lead us into circumstances that will draw us closer to Him in obedience. God will bring people into our lives that will help us in our walk with the Lord. God will open our eyes to the truth in His word to give us power and light to reject our flesh's passions and instead walk by the Spirit.
All this starts with a humble recognition we need help. We can’t do it on our own. When we find ourselves on our knees in desperation, we find ourselves in the most powerful place: in the hands of God who loves us.
I look forward to being with you this Sunday as we celebrate the work of God in Jesus Christ together! This Sunday, we will be seeking God through His Word in Romans 7:13-25.
Praying with you,