“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me”Philippians 4:13
All of us have a conscience, formed out of our sense of right from wrong, guiding our actions and decisions. When we violate our conscience, it can put us ill at ease, even resulting in guilty feelings, which can make us feel inadequate, and potentially limit our potential. We want to do better and will try harder the next time we experience another situation where our values are challenged. All that said, will we really try harder?
As Christians, we know that Jesus has an unending bounty of mercy, ready to forgive us for our transgressions. With hearts seeking Christ, we ask for forgiveness and intend to do better next time. For us Catholics, the sacrament of Penance is our vehicle to receiving absolution from our sins, of course by going to a priest to engage in what we call confession. In absolution, the priest is the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner.
Life can become a never-ending series of events where we fall down, then get back up, hoping to maintain a decent level of spiritual integrity by lessening the number of relapses, so to speak. Truth is that we cannot begin to do this by ourselves, as we need God’s grace to lift us above our tendencies to succumb to temptation.
In dealing with our sinful transgressions, a healthy spirit can emerge, once we realize our utter helplessness, and surrender totally to Jesus for direction. When confronted with temptations, sometimes God places barriers in our paths toward sin, which we need to take advantage of.
Taking personal accountability by practicing self-discipline is essential too. Lastly, we must not lose hope, as our perseverance shows our desire to live right with Christ, which to me demonstrates our striving for goodness and righteousness, which should serve us well when the day of judgment comes.
The apostle Paul asked Jesus to remove what is called a “thorn in the flesh”, some weakness, perhaps due to sin, which Jesus refused to remove. The response from Christ (see 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10) that “my grace is sufficient”, and Paul’s conclusion that “For when I am weak, then I am strong”, reminds us that perfection is not likely in this world. Instead, let’s do our best, not obsessing on our worthiness, but relying on God’s grace, keeping on gaze on Christ, who strengthens us each day. That’s a great start!
Have a Blessed Week!