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Have you ever asked yourself, "Who am I?" What I mean to say is, have you ever looked at yourself as a baptized child of God and wondered why you keep doing the same dumb things. Why do I keep loosing my cool with people, even though I have the gift of the Holy Spirit who is patient? Why do I keep going back to the same pornographic websites, even though I do not desire to lust? Why do I keep spending all my money on useless things in this life, when I know it is a better thing to give to the Lord and to the poor? Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again, even though every morning I desire to live a righteous life in faith toward God and in fervent love toward my neighbor? Who am I? Am I a saint, or am I just some sinner that's going to keep getting it wrong my whole life long?
Well, St. Paul wrote of this conflict saying, "14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me." (Romans 7:14-20). St. Paul used a Greek word here, that is translated "do," but is better translated "desire." We have a righteous desire because of who we are in Christ. In Jesus, we are a new creation, the Old is gone, behold the new has come. We have put off the Old Adam with all his desires, and now we walk according to the will and joys of the Spirit. However, sin still lurks within us. Sin still does its damage on us and creates in our hearts a yearning for the things of this fallen world. Yes, we desire to live a righteous life, and this is who we truly are. However, while we are still in the flesh, sin is powerful and tempts us to live for the abominable things of this life rather than for the things of God.
My friends, St. Paul then wrote, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:25). Jesus will deliver us. Jesus delivered Paul from his struggle with sin, and He does the same thing for us. We will struggle with the flesh our whole life long, and we will fail. We will fail because we are sinful. However, Jesus is there for us every time we fall in order to lift us back up in the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is there, not at our best of times, but at our worst of times, to absolve us and remind us of His love for us. Jesus delivers us from this body of death now in the forgiveness of our sins and He will deliver us from this body of death when He finally calls us home to Himself in heaven. Who am I? A failed saint who is forgiven by Jesus of all my sins. Who am I? A saint who is loved by Christ Jesus in spite of my many failures. Who am I? Jesus' own beloved, a saint destined for eternity. Who am I? Whoever Jesus says I am, and I am His forever.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you hear only the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I forgive you. I love you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.