The mess inside of us

Inside of us, some days, it feels like sheer and utter chaos.
There is a mash of emotions and thoughts from moment to moment. Frustration with a child or spouse, joy welling up over a long reached-for success, a struggle with the many barriers of ministry, hurt and bitterness from the past, or satisfaction from a job well done with the help of God.
There is a mess of stuff inside of us, even in the most put together and ordered individual.
A mess that God sees, when no one else does. He sees the internal struggle for growth instead of stagnancy. He sees the inner workings of our minds and souls. He sees our worry and our fears. He sees all of it.
When He looks into our hearts, we almost instantly picture Him seeing our sin and all the chaos, but instead, this verse tells us, He sees the Spirit interceding and working and growing us. 
He fills us and our lives with so many good things – minds and hearts to know Him, struggle to grow stronger, individual personalities that are infinitely creative, and relationships that form us and encourage us and teach us. The Spirit intercedes in all our chaos and mess and fills us with His mind and not our own. The Spirit in our lives means we can focus on God’s mercy, His plans, His purposes and we can let the rest fade away.

Gone is the overwhelming burden of sorting through the chaos of emotions and thoughts to understand ourselves and others and our direction. God’s will is in us through the Spirit. God gives us a clear mind and a clear heart to take on the challenges of the day. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Take on the day ahead with the knowledge that in every moment, He is interceding and working and growing you.

No condemnation please!

Marriage is hard work. Church is hard work. Life is hard work.
Every day there is sin to be forgiven and, unfortunately, the cycle of sin and repentance can feel more like defeat than the victory it really is at times.
In the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery in John 8, Jesus tells her at the end of the passage these words “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?…Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Here we hear Jesus himself tells us the words echoed in Romans 8 –
no condemnation.
We hear and know the Truth of no condemnation, but what does it look like in our marriages?

It looks like forgiveness.

By the power of His Spirit we can forgive every thing, every time. We will get weary of it. Socks next to the clothes hamper, dinners gone cold from waiting, harsh words spoken too quickly- all forgivable in Christ Jesus. Living out “no condemnation” is often hardest in our own homes, but the power of Christ crucified and rose is also, possibly, most powerful in our own homes. Hearing more forgiveness, more gentle reminders of God’s deep and unfathomable love for us, from our spouse, is like remembering our baptism daily. Defeat is covered, sin’s power destroyed, we raise to new life seeing the Spirit’s care and concern lived out in another person. Our spouse stands as Christ to us, offering His hand to lift us up, absolve us and we can go and sin no more, knowing that He walks beside us.

The mystery of one flesh plays out in this place of forgiveness in marriage. Because my spouse offers me forgiveness, I can, practically speaking, more easily forgive myself. This is spiritual care in marriage. It’s not always easy, not always perfect, but it is Christ in us. And in Christ there is no condemnation.