Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why Am I Thus?

"And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb....." (Genesis 25:22, 23)

Of all questions, it would seem to me that "Why” is the least helpful. In many cases, it calls for speculation. It's not like "What, Where, or When” that call for definite answers. And often, answers to the question “Why?” are prelude to excuses, which, in turn, are more likely to produce stagnation than change. Like Rebekah, we often ask "Why am I the way I am?" We have the idea that if we dig around in our past, or scrutinize our emotions, somehow, we will gather enough data to effect a change. But, in reality, we're much more apt to find reason to believe our questionable behavior is inevitable. Personally, I think analysis should be restricted to the laboratory!

In Genesis 25, Rebekah, pregnant with Isaac's child, knows there is far more activity going on inside of her than is normal. Her womb feels more like a battlefield than a birth chamber! God's answer to her concerning the conflict within her is the same answer he gives to us concerning our own inner conflicts. In her case, it was because she had "two nations" within her; in our case, it's because we have "two natures" within us. Our sinful flesh may manifest itself in different ways, in different people, but the remedy is the same for all of us. Paul says in Romans 6 that the outcome of the battle is determined upon which of these two natures we obey. We, with the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, have the edge in this personal conflict…if we choose to take advantage of our advantage.

You and I are the way we are because we are descendents of Adam. But we are also “children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal.3:26.) And there, friends, is the source of the conflict… and the means of the VICTORY!

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