The flesh is willing, but the spirit is…elsewhere
by MW Cook
Why is it that when I’m tired I can’t pray? And why is it that when I don’t pray it makes me spiritually very tired? Why can’t I remember that the soul that sins dies? Why can’t I kill this sin when I know exactly how to do it? Why can’t I do what I know is right and good? Why does death live in me? Why does my heart want me dead?
I don’t quite know at this point.
A little frustrated. Can you tell?
You know what? I’ve realized that there are a few things in life that I just cannot understand. I don’t know why my heart is deceitful. Maybe it’s just sick or something. I do know a few things that can help the situation. Many of them I do. Many of them I could do, yet don’t. A few of them are not really available to me right now. Fellowship with a local body, for example. Perhaps the biggest struggle Ruth and I face here is the fact that there is no gathering of believers withing a hundred miles of our house. There are ‘churches’, yes, but I honestly could not call them pieces of the body of Christ. I wish I could, but I can’t. Christianity here is big business, nothing else. I don’t exagerate when I say there I think I have met two believers in this entire town besides us. Two! Everyone else uses religion as a means of gain. Spiritually we have more in common with a faithful Muslim than with the average Christian.
Why do I say all this? I’ve been thinking about my time in Canada. I’ve been thinking about the reasons people leave churches and go it on their own for a while. I’ve realized that most of our reasons are…a little dumb. Let’s face it! You will never, ever find a perfect church! And if you do, please don’t go there because you’ll likely ruin it! The only people who are in a perfect church are dead. I can’t understand, after being placed over here, why people would be willing to spiritually cut their own arms off because of personal problems or petty interpretational issues. I know that there are sometimes good and pure reasons for leaving an assembly, but how often are those the reasons that we actually leave? Let’s be honest, we usually say good-bye to the body because some guy bugs the crap out of us and won’t say ‘sorry’! And when that is the reason we leave it’s not righteous indignation, it’s a proud heart that wants to takes its ball and go home.
A message to all of you who live within driving distance of a place when beleivers meet and love God: Join them! You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and I see very clearly how much good my dear local assembly was for me. Even (or especially) during those times when I was so frustrated with the people there I wanted to pack it up and become Baptist or something. Don’t underestimate the power and benefit of the local body in your life. It is invaluble. I wish we had something like it over here (although I’m sure that if half a dozen of you would pack up and get over here our problems would be solved). The heart may be homocidal, but at least the encouragtement and accountability of other believers takes the edge off.
That’s all. I’m done.
Also, I think this link might have been lost among the posts. I wrote a short story you should check out.