Rom 7:18-25; Ps 119:66, 68, 76, 77, 93, 94; Lk 12:54-59
Obedience to the commands of the LORD teaches us wisdom and knowledge. Surrender to his commands teaches us what we can never learn any other way. The LORD who is good and bountiful teaches us his statutes. Indeed, his kindness comforts us according to his promise to his servants. Only when the LORD comes to us do we truly live and find our delight in his law. How could we forget his precepts for it is through them that we have life, abundant life? This is our salvation to seek his precepts. We belong to the LORD, and we are saved by the Living God. When we live and move and have our being in the Word of the LORD, obedience becomes natural. Indeed, it is our second nature, our new nature in Christ, the obedient Son of God. Saint Paul took delight in the law of God in his deepest self, but he struggled with himself because delight in sin also lived in his flesh, even after his baptism. The Lord Jesus teaches his disciples and the crowd that true wisdom is more about the urgency of the Kingdom of God than in being able to discern the signs of nature. Today we find our delight in the One Who Delighted to do the will of His Father in Heaven. This is the wisdom that guides us all along the way.
In his mortal body, in his flesh, Saint Paul knew the war within. Even though he had learned to discern between good and evil, it was not easy for him to will and to do the good. As he explained his misery, “I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.” We, too, give thanks to God, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, that Saint Paul shared about this interior conflict with his brothers and sisters in the church of Rome. In this self-disclosure Saint Paul echoes our own story of struggle. For even as he takes delight in the law of God, Saint Paul is captive to the law of sin. He identifies this tendency toward disobedience as in his members, in his flesh, in his mortal body. Do we not also suffer this same conflict? Is not this war raging within us? In his own heart, Saint Paul desires to do the good, but his flesh desires to do evil. Herein lies the misery of his broken and wounded human nature. This is our misery as well. Yet, he does not despair! We, too, can cry out with Saint Paul. “Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
If we have any wisdom at all, if we have learned how to live by the precepts of the law of the LORD, then we will make every effort to settle with our opponent before we arrive at court. Indeed, we have no time to waste on the things of this world. The coming of the Lord Jesus and the arrival of the Kingdom must be our urgency. The Lord Jesus challenges his followers in every time and place to go beyond an interpretation of the signs of the present times. We have all kinds of common sense when it comes to predicting the weather, but we fail to use our spiritual sense to discern, that which demands our attention and self-sacrifice. It is this complacency that the Lord Jesus challenges when he cries out, “You hypocrites!” We cannot claim to be wiser than the worldly if we do not avoid legal battles that go on and on. We simply have neither the time nor resources to win every lawsuit. We do, however, have time to notice that here and now is the One Who Is Coming. To the Lord Jesus belongs all our time and resources, for he is our everything.