“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19) I know this verse; I live this verse every day.
It is difficult when we attempt to move forward without the Holy Spirit, it’s like starting a project and then checking your finances to make sure you have enough to finish it. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” (Luke 14:28) Knowing when to continue to move forward in the love that we are to have for our neighbor and knowing when to not cast pearls before swine is not something that we can discern, but the Holy Spirit can, and if you do not listen to Him, you may find yourself doing the evil you do not want to do.
I think about when Paul had a change of mind about John Mark, perhaps he regretted his initial response, perhaps the circumstances at the time warranted his not wanting him to continue any longer with him, but in either case, when we make a decision to step out in faith for the glory of God, one of two things will happen, good will come from it, or you will be shown that it was not the path you were to take. Here is the walk of faith, here is the persistence of the saints, their desire is to walk with Christ, but sometimes we lose track of His footsteps.
A good case in point for this would be those who have devoted their lives to the anti-abortion agenda. There should never be any abortions, but some of those in this group have lost sight of those footsteps, they no longer seek the face of God fully, but instead attempt to change the laws of man, and spend much of their time concentrating on a cause, instead of Christ. I liken this subject also to those pastors who use the pulpit to spread the news of the world instead of the Gospels, who spend their Sunday mornings speaking about the news of the past week, and not of the glory to come.
The main problem with anyone who spends their time in the world while professing Christ as Lord is that they do not realize what they are doing, the cause is not Christ to them, the news of the world is the knowledge they believe they need to know. This became quite visible when Evangelical churches began to become entertainment venues, when more than just solid, sound Biblically correct preaching was needed to keep the flock in the pews. Problem is, it didn’t work. The Bible’s message could not keep those pews full, and neither has the entertainment. It is a sure sign of the apostacy, people that believe the good they are doing is actually good in the eyes of the Lord, when most of it is no more than lip service, no more than that week’s news, or the next step in their cause.
That opening verse in this short letter to you speaks of a man who had exceptionally good hindsight vision, a man who contemplated the actions he had taken in the past, had prayed diligently about them, who modified what was wrong, and built upon that which was right. This is one of the main ways that we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, not only from our mistakes, those evil things we have done, but looking closer at the good things, and attempting to continue in them.
Continual regret is not an option, few profitable servants live in the land of regret, but if we are not careful, those good things, if we forget that the Holy Spirit is our guide, can quite easily lead to a life of pride. Sometimes we lose track of His footsteps, but we keep moving forward in faith, learning from our mistakes, building on that which we know to be truth, always for the glory of God.