Romans 7:15-25a (NRSV)
15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
David was 16 months old, a very busy boy, racing matchbox cars and trucks, doing puzzles and snuggling next to Grandma, reading favorite books. While working in the kitchen, I put his baby brother in his car seat on the kitchen floor. Running through the kitchen door, David threw a matchbox car. A direct shot hitting the baby in the forehead!
Classic sibling rivalry. Bad human behavior. At one-and-a-half, David couldn’t help himself. But years of discipline and the modeling of good behavior at home, at church, and at school have helped—as has the ever abiding presence of God’s grace.
Last fall I attended David’s confirmation. An important passage of life. Amidst tears, prayers, and laying on of hands, pastors, parents, grandparents, siblings, and sponsors joyfully affirmed his baptism and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit in David’s life. “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Gracious God, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit, filling our lives with abundant grace. Amen.