Watch the Trailer for Stuck by Jennie Allen
This lesson in the study describes two ways to live. One way is to know God, to be His, to be filled with His Spirit and to enjoy life and peace. The other way is to be enslaved to our flesh, constantly pleasing it, and ultimately feeling sin and death in it all… the waste.
We categorize our sin in a grand gesture to feel better about ourselves, better about our lives, when God couldn’t care less what particular sin we love. He wants us to see we sin. He wants us to see we are all helpless without Him. And He wants us to sit with hungry eyes, drinking in His grace. But most of us think that we have enough God. We’ve heard it already… heaven and Jesus and forever. We spend more time scrutinizing truth than living it. We get numb and bored. We forget that it is all real. It is all real.
See, when we step into faith with Him, God shatters everything, not just our Saturday night plans. He changes every relationship, how we spend our time, our motives, our passions, how we live and how we die. He strips us of performing and pretending and lays us bare, fully aware of our need for Him. While it is costly and even threatening, it is what we were designed for.
Read Romans 8:1-17
Describe the two sides of the war from Romans 8:1-17.
- Led By The Spirit
- Led By The Flesh
The struggle between the Spirit of God and evil has been warring since before God spun the planets. This is the universal problem: the Spirit of life and peace versus the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:8 says, Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
It is impossible to please God without the Spirit of God Himself being present in us and without the blood of Christ erasing our sin.
Two drums are beating. We are each born with the drum of our flesh that beats steadily and selfishly, begging for us to meet its every desire. The sound of this drum beats, telling me to get what I need, build my comfortable life, make a name for myself. It is a drum that beats until we die, unless we are given a different drum, a new drum giving life and peace. The new drum has a purpose and overcomes the selfish drum of our flesh. It beats with God’s heart. The new drum can overcome the old one, but the old drum must die.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one — to his own way; and the Lord has laid on [Christ] the iniquity of us all. — Isaiah 53:6
I was designed to come to the end of myself again and again and again and again, to slip down the rungs of my ladder, until maybe, after years of reaching the end of me, I would consider that I had a problem… that I might need something… that I might be stuck.
I might need help.
I might need God.
This feeling is not a Christian problem or a pagan problem, a young or an old problem, a rich or a poor problem, or a married or a single problem. It is a human problem. People feel stuck.
God in His goodness supplied our universal need for a Savior. Before time began He knew people would rebel and run from Him, and He made a way to get them back in Christ. In Christ’s death I found grace. Grace to be a sinner. Grace to not measure up. Grace for people around me to disappoint me. Grace for my kids and my husband to be human.
It is important we understand the reason why we can be imperfect. We don’t have to try to measure up or pretend because God rescued us from that impossible pursuit through the blood of Christ.
Those of us who have been rescued by God have nothing to prove. We can call sin what it is because our sin has been paid for, cared for. We rest in who we are and what God has accomplished for us.
We can even boast in our weakness, because our weakness shows our need for God even more. Grace frees me from having to measure up to the impossible standard, while at the same time, grace motivates me to run from sin and obey God.
Shame has paralyzed us. We are afraid to come out of hiding and admit we are flawed. It is ridiculous because we are all flawed. God knows it and we know it. Why are we pretending?
If we trust in Christ, we are forgiven.
The space in which we are stuck, lacking, sinful, broken, and in need, is the space in us that longs for God, longs for forgiveness. When we soberly view ourselves and our sin, we see our need and call out for God.
Toward the scorners He is scornful, but to the humble He gives favor. — Proverbs 3:34
Once we have tasted that grace, we are compelled to give our lives away because of it. Because God was that good to love us despite our sin. He was that merciful to give everything to make us right with Him. Knowing that kind of grace changes everything.
We long to follow a God like that. A God who is offering life and peace to those who obey Him, to those who follow Him. He is even offering the means to obey and live a life for Him, through the Holy Spirit.
Obedience turns into a response to the love of our God rather than a duty to perform for Him.
We move from focusing on our need to fixing our eyes on the face of God. He changes everything. Andrew Murray, a great pastor and missionary in the nineteenth century, talks about this in his book Humility. He defines humility as being “fully occupied with God.” We must move our eyes from our sin to God or we will stay stuck in our sin. His grace is why we can confess our sin and find freedom. We live in His grace and then we give His grace to everyone we encounter.
Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven — for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. — Luke 7:47
To keep me from becoming conceited… there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
Watch the Video: Lesson One, Stuck
Who Are You Lord?
What Do You Want From Me?
Read about the apostle Paul’s stuck places. As you read, think about the two questions above and journal your thoughts.
Where do you go to find life, to find God?
What are the things that steal joy from you?
As we admit our weak places, our hurts, our sin, God can freely move into those spaces. We depend on Him more and on ourselves less as we soberly view ourselves as broken.
Unapologetically I want you to question your faith. Be sure that what you say you believe, you actually believe. I fear we find ourselves in a world of pretending. People are saying they believe, but if they are really honest, God is not in them. They are not even sure He is real.
Rarely has anyone questioned my salvation. But I think questioning my salvation is the most powerful and loving thing someone can do for me.
Do you understand that no act on your part will achieve salvation for you?
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that He is God?
Do you believe that He took your place in His death on a cross to pay for your sin?
Do you believe that He has risen from death and now sits at the right hand of God the Father?
Have you placed your life in the hands of this God for salvation and hope?
Honestly, all of that sounds a little crazy, but it is pretty simple. I don’t think it is a stretch to say we should scrutinize our faith. This is not a box we check on our voting registration… this is eternity. We should be 100 percent sure our hope is in Him alone.
I really like our God. He is so different from any human or god I would ever construct. Despite His power and fame, He loved me in my sin and saved me from it. Now I am free — completely, undeservingly free, forever. I would have been happy being a slave for a God, but He adopted me and made me His kid. So many of us have taken God’s love for granted. May His love shatter our sin and drive our lives.
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Come share your comments and answers to Jennie’s questions on our blog! We want to hear from you!
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