Great obstacles have confronted us as a people but over many of these we have been victorious.  Back in 1776, we conquered our forefathers, then in 1861, we conquered our brothers, but still the real battle in life goes on unconquered.  For we have not learned to conquer our greatest enemy, self.  Daniel Webster once said, “My greatest obstacle is me.”

  The Apostle Paul, in the 7th chapter of Romans, admits his greatest struggle is within.   Listen to him, “I do; not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.”  Romans 7: 15  
We need to take an intimate, honest, personal inventory of self.  It would almost seem as if the whole course of modern life is determined, with the deliberate intention, of preventing us from ever looking into our souls.  The craze today is, ‘whatever happens, do not let me think about myself.’  So, we have surrounded ourselves with things; thing to listen to, things to look at, things to handle.  Silence makes us afraid.  Yet, the Bible teaches us, “Be still and know that I am God.”  The one thing that Jesus compelled men to do was to face themselves honestly.

  But, it is not enough to merely look within.  We must do something about what we see.  We are to look within that we may find the weak places, the insecure places, the unholy places, the places that give us shame. To look within and see some insincerity is to have taken the first step in removing it.  To discover a breach in the soul’s defenses is to have taken the first step toward it’s repair.  It may come as a shock to us to realize that we aren’t as good as we think we are, or as others think we are, but the shock may prove a blessing in disguise, as we set about to do something about it. To be compelled to realize that we are not what we thought we were, is the beginning of conviction.  Conviction can lead to repentance and repentance to confession before God.  Confession leads to forgiveness and forgiveness to restoration and salvation.

  Even as the Apostle Paul fought the inward struggle, so do we.  It is a fierce hard fight, for we fight against self, the greatest obstacle of life.  But, in Christianity there is help through Jesus.  There is forgiveness through Him, and opportunity to begin again, no matter the defeats.  The purpose of religion is not primarily the social, the outer man, although there are inescapable obligations there.  The real purpose of Christianity is to help a person to stand when alone, and no one can stand when he or she is alone, unless they have as a resource; strength of soul, goodness of character, faith in God.   

  Listen to Paul as he closes that 7th chapter of Romans, “What a wretched man I am. Who will  rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ, our Lord.” 

  May this be our prayer:  “Father, help us to dare to take an honest inventory of our lives, letting the light of Your Holy Word, the Bible, search our souls.  Help us to allow Your spirit to guide us by that truth.   Then, give us the courage to do something about our need to be more like Your Son, Jesus. With Your help, we will become more like what You would have us to be.  In Jesus name.  Amen”

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