In which I am ensnared by knitting.
Nobody make a knotty pun—shoot.
Random thought of the week: I looked up and felt like my desk, though cluttered, had a sort of skyline-esque architecture to it. I like the composition of it.
And yeah I have to take off my glasses to read or use my phone. It’s a hassle.
So remember my powdery predicament last week? Yeast overload has fomented a ferment of new forays into baking. So just let me humble brag about the fruits of my kneading on the left.
So a bunch of courses just ended, and a new course block is about to start. Why don’t I feel fulfilled or satisfied? Is my new flurry of activity trying to fill some unknown void? (Exhibit A: spent four hours yesterday learning how to embroider. What.) My schedule has been thrown out of wack, and I’ve watched more television in the last few days than I’ve done in perhaps the last year, combined (granted, other people were the primary viewers, but I adeptly tagged along). I haven’t spent as much time with the Lord, and the cracks are starting to show.
So here’s my experience, and I’m sure I’m not alone: I’ll be doing my thing (in this case, knitting) when suddenly the Lord, that Spirit in my spirit, gives me a sense. Haven’t I been doing this too long? Isn’t there something else I should be doing? I may agree, and wholeheartedly, but there’s something in my being, despite the logical accord, that just acts as an inertial juggernaut.
That laundry’s been sitting there for at least an hour now.
Wouldn’t sleeping bags grow moldy if they continue to sit there?
I’m getting hungry. What if I go to the laundry room, get the sleeping bags, hang them up, and grab a snack at the end?
I watch my hands clicketty-clacking the knitting needles. I don’t even need to think about them. What’s wrong with me? Am I trapped in my body? Have I been possessed by some matronly spirit with a penchant for scarves?
No, it’s just the good ol’ law of sin and of death in me. Don’t get me wrong — there’s nothing sinful about knitting. But in the yawning maw of a whole host of other (read: useful) things that I could have been doing, like grant applications, research, enjoying the Lord, etc., I had (1) a compulsive desire to do something else (the law of sin), and (2) no strength of will to carry out what I should have done.
Sound familiar? It’s Paul’s lament in Romans 7. I agree with the law, that it is good (v. 16). But though I had the will to do the good, I didn’t have it in me to actually do it (v. 18). In fact, what I ended up doing was the opposite of what I wanted to do (v. 20).
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death? Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin.
Then I have a new problem. I know that the law of sin and of death can be overcome by the law of the Spirit of life (Rom. 8). That means I just need to set my mind on the spirit, and then the Lord Himself living in me will be my power to overcome whatever sluggish dullard lives in my body (v. 10–11; Gal. 2:20). I know it! I’ve experienced it before! But right now in the present tense, the law of the Spirit of life seems impossibly far away. I’m like the paralytic next to the pool of Bethesda. “HEY, PUT ME IN, COACH, THERE’S THE ANGEL! Aww shoot, Brian-the-leper got it. You go, Brian-the-leper. Good on ya. I’ll just…catch it next time.”
What are my excuses for not turning to the Spirit? First, Satan’s thoughts are kinda convincing. (1) if I turn to my Spirit, does that mean I gotta drag those sleeping bags up a flight of stairs? Spirit or no Spirit, I’m not a fan. (2) It’s late. The sun has set. The day is basically wasted, anyway. I’ll start again tomorrow. (3) What I’m doing right now isn’t *wrong*. (4) None of the things I should be doing are *extremely urgent*. (5) What if I turn to my spirit, and the law of the Spirit of life operates and I soar above this situation… and then plop back here an hour later and continue doing what I was doing before? That’d be a sure shame. Might as well not start.
The list can go on and on. We’re adept at justifying our lazy lump selves. Many times I even find myself putting myself in God’s shoes (though haha we all know God doesn’t wear shoes on those shining bronze feet hahaha good one) and shooting myself down. “Look at this pathetic piffler. She just wants the law of the Spirit of life, the processed, consummated, all-inclusive Spirit—ME, the great I AM—so that she can do as mundane a task as bring the laundry to dry. Not granted,” quoth I-in-the-place-of-God.
God isn’t like us. When the psalmists said His mercy endures forever and ever, it was true. Even if we come to Him with base motives for touching Him in our Spirit, He still gives us the Spirit without measure (John 3:34). We just have to settle it in our being and get over all our inner requirements that we project onto God. It’s as easy as saying to the Lord exactly what you think.
“Lord, You know right now my heart doesn’t want to be turned to You. Lord, I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to do the laundry. I barely even believe that You can do it in me. I kind of don’t want to believe it, either. I’m not even happy staying here and knitting, but doing anything else requires energy I don’t have. Lord, what do I do? Lord, what are You doing? …Lord, I still love You.”
There’s no requirement in the Spirit to do anything, feel anything, or be anything. We want to have our cake and eat it, too—to turn to the Spirit, and also to be able to do all the things we’re supposed to do on our own steam. That’s not what the Lord is after! The law of sin and of death illustrates to us the potency of our sinful nature and dead condition so that we know what it really means to need the Lord, and the freedom of being in Him.