Michael Spencer, who blogged as The Internet Monk, died about a year ago at way too early an age. He was a brilliant and often controversial writer, teacher and pastor. This is one of my favorites. Romans 7 (I do the things I don't want to do and don't do the things that I want to do) and Romans 8 (Therefore there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus) in a more modern conversation with himself. The original post is here and was called Confession. Enjoy the GOOD NEWS at the end. It is indeed Good News for us all!
I don’t like the fact that I can give a really good talk on prayer when I rarely pray.
I don’t like it that I can read Matthew 5:23-24 and, as far as I can recall, never take a single step toward obeying it.
I don’t like that I can sin and then condemn someone else’s sin in almost the same breath.
I don’t like it that I’m convinced people need to understand me, but I take so little time to understand others.
I regret that I’ve spent so much of my life seeking to make myself happy in ways that never led to real happiness at all.
I don’t like it that I’ve accumulated so much stuff I don’t need, and I’m so reluctant to give it away.
It causes me real sorrow that I’ve said “I love you” far to little in my life, especially to the people I love the most.
I don’t like the fact that some of my students think I’m a hero, when I’ve done nothing more than be an unprofitable servant.
I hate the difference between what I know and what I do.
I hate the fact that I can use words like “radical” describing what others should do in following Jesus when I’m the first one to want to play it safe.
I don’t like that part of me that thinks everyone should listen to what I say.
I wish I could see myself as God sees me, both in my sinfulness and in the Gospel of Jesus.
I regret using so little of my life’s time, energy and resources for worship and communion with God.
I despise that part of me that always finds fault, and uses that knowledge to put myself above others.
I am embarrassed by the words I use that come so easily from the tongue but have little root in the heart.
I regret taking so few risks in the cause of living a God-filled life.
I despise the shallowness of my repentance for sin that has caused hurt and pain for others.
I don’t like that part of me that can make up an excuse, even lie, almost endlessly in the cause of avoiding the truth and its consequences.
I don’t like that I can talk of heaven in a sermon or at a funeral, but very little of me wants to go there.
I regret that I have loved my arrogant self far than I’ve loved my self humbled in Christ.
I regret that so much good advice, good teaching and good example was wasted on me.
But I am glad for the endless mercies of the Lord, and the amazing fact that those mercies extend to me, today and every day.
I am glad that Christ my substitute took this sorry life, pathetic obedience and lethargic worship and exchanged it for his perfect righteousness.
I am glad that the Holy Spirit is remaking and raising dead men- even at age 52.
I am glad that one day I will look at all these failures and regrets and they will have been transformed into the very glory of Jesus Christ himself.
I am glad that God has cast the very things I most dislike about myself into the depths of the sea and has removed them as far as the east is from the west.
I am glad that when I return in shame and embarrassment, my Father meets me running, covers me with his gladness and throws me a party in the presence of the naysayers and pharisees.
I am glad that Jesus takes these things I loathe about myself and says “It is finished. Come you good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord. Today you will be with me in paradise.”
I am glad Jesus says “Before I have called you servant, but now I will call you friend.”
I am glad Jesus says “Who condemns you? There is now no condemnation because you are in me and I am in you. If I am for you, who can be against you? Go, and sin no more.”