More often than not, when I am discussing Church participation with others I hear some variation of, “Not as often as I should.” It rarely matters what aspect of Church participation we are discussing, the response is often the same. Then there are the few that respond with, “I don’t really think we need to come to Church. I believe. The Church has too many rules to follow. God said, ‘Just believe’ and that should be enough.
Take a moment and read today’s Epistle Reading, (You can find it below) and you will see the difference between knowing there is more we should be doing in our spiritual struggle, and thinking we’re “good to go” when it comes to our relationship with God. Today Saint Paul offers us a chance to accept that we struggle to live as we should as Christians. When we are honest with ourselves, we can respond with the same honesty as Saint Paul.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These comforting words from Saint Paul should be what keep us engaged in the battle against sin. It isn’t whether we get it right every time, but whether we are fighting. If you are one of those who says, “Not as often as I should,” then today make a plan to reengage in the fight. Call your spiritual father for Holy Confession, get a fresh start, and fight. You may not get it right every time, but it is all about the fight.
Brethren, we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which 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! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 7.14-8.2