Rain falls on all…
March 24th, 2019
Maybe it isn’t as common today as it was years ago, but now and then you hear of people attributing sin to circumstance. I think perhaps this is often thought of more than spoken as our PC culture has placed a prohibition on truth when it might hurt someone’s sensibilities. Consequently, even if that were the case, most of us would feel out-of-place bringing up sin as a cause of circumstance.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.”
John 9:1-4 (ESV)
In Jesus’ day, it was common to do this. If something bad came about, you automatically looked for who you wanted to affix the blame.
Jesus makes a point here that no one sinned to cause this man’s blindness. Instead, his condition was purposed for God’s glory. Then focuses in on something profound for us disciples of Jesus.
“We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.” Jesus took his lead from God the Father, we take our lead from Jesus. Everything that enters our lives is subject to the will of the Lord. The issues that enter our lives is often something God intends to be used to demonstrate His power and grace.
It’s easy to quote our favorite scripture regarding overcoming obstacles in our walk with Jesus.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Don’t get me wrong, Romans 8:28 is one of my favorite passages. But often living it is a lot more difficult than saying it. “All things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”, really?
There are several areas where we read the words and with the best of intent, commit to apply them to our lives and a few weeks down the road we realize that we aren’t doing such a good job on the application side of faith in God’s Word.
Sounds helpless doesn’t it? Our flesh can be an insurmountable obstacle to us doing what we want to do and being who we want to be.
Remember the blind man?
We aren’t a lot different from him. Paul spells it out for us, using his own life as a reference point.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Romans 7:15-20 (ESV)
The blind man could do nothing about his condition. He couldn’t choose not to be blind. He couldn’t avail himself of services to mitigate his condition.
It was only when Jesus became engaged in his plight; he was freed from his darkness.
Our flesh is out weakness. Our flesh is our blindness. There is no medical procedure we can avail ourselves of that will render the flesh inert.
But with Jesus becomes engaged in our plight, the situation changes.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (ESV)
Jesus enters the situation, and it’s not our strength and determination that changes the situation, it is the power of Christ living in us. It is through His strength we can accomplish that which we cannot do on our own.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:12-13 (ESV)
Again, written by Paul, using his own experience as a reference. The one who admits that he does that which he hates and not what he desires to do, lacking any control of the situation; in himself. But when Jesus is engaged in the situation things change and now, he can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens him.
Why? So that God is glorified through our condition. It’s not our strength or willpower, but the power vested in us by Jesus. It is “Through Christ”.
In the Grace of Jesus,