Can Christ make his home in us while our lives remain messy? Some spend years trying to clean up the clutter of their “home” to make it presentable, stuffing what they don’t want God to see under the bed or in a closet. At the heart of this struggle is our understanding of “grace” and what makes us presentable to God in the first place.
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. . .
Teresa of Avila, a 16th century Christian writer, envisions the soul as the interior of a feudal castle, with crystal floors, many rooms, and the brilliant presence of the Holy Spirit at the center. She imagines the soul arranged in overlapping layers, similar to the architecture of a lettuce. Some of these layers are crisp and healthy, others worm-eaten and diseased. The vibrant and the diseased coexist, overlapping to form an integrated whole. The powerful light shining outward from the center illuminates every layer. Similarly, the Apostle Paul describes his spiritual struggle as the coexistence of these “two layers.”
The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
In what ways can living in God’s grace be a challenge for you?
Teresa uses the example from her cultural context of a palmetto seed.
Romans 7:21-23 (The Message translation)