I'm prone to being especially snappy and intolerant when I'm tired. Which is quite often lately, with a baby who likes night time attention. Either that, or the rest of the world just happens to be particularly annoying on days when I haven't had enough sleep. But I think it's more likely that I'm the common denominator.
This morning, knowing I was extra tired, I resolved to try my hardest to be positive and light hearted anyway. Even knowing my weakness, even wanting genuinely to not succumb to it, it barely took 30 minutes after getting out of bed before I'd already reacted exactly the way I always would. And by halfway through the day... Well lets just say my resolve well ad truly failed me.
Which is why I'm so glad we are not under law but under Grace.
Because aren't our lives like that. Even when we know what we should and shouldn't do, when we know what our weaknesses are, and even when we genuinely want to change out thoughts, behaviours and actions it seems to happen that at the very next challenge, we've failed again. We've become angry or impulsive or impatient or lazy or selfish or harsh or critical or indulgent or frustrated or despairing....all over again.
So aren't we so fortunate that it is the grace of God through Jesus that makes a new creation and not our own efforts?
It is a grace that is not fully realised yet, but it was a plan that was set in motion from the beginning. A plan to redeem us and reconcile us right from the start. The minute Adam and Eve walked out of the garden, God was already bringing us back.
What ever issues and questions people have with the Old Testament, I'd suggest most people are missing the point. And that point is, that everything points to Jesus.
Though humanity chose to turn away, God kept on steering us back, every step of the way carrying a line of people (the Israelites) to bring us Jesus, fully human and fully God, to be the ultimate sacrifice.
We question what God doesn't do, what He seems to allow, the things that seem troubling - but what about all He does do. That He never let His plan be derailed, no matter how many times the Israelites turned away and failed and messed up.
The Old Testament is not devoid of Grace in the midst of Law - it is drenched in it. Every story, every event, every prophecy points to the plan God had to save not just the Israelites but the whole world. To bring us all back into his arms, no matter how much we rebelled.
Everything points to Jesus.
If Gods plan can prevail through every messed up trial and battle in the Bible, His grace can prevail in your life too.
The sacrifice has been made, and life has conquered death. Love has conquered fear. Jesus has fulfilled the law, and Gods inheritance is ours. His Grace is sufficient.
While His kingdom isn't fully realised here on earth yet, the hold sin seems to still have on you is only an illusion. It's a lie. Don't believe it. You are not subject to your old self anymore.
The battle is not to conquer sin and the enemy - that has already been done. The battle is now to bring our minds into alignment with the truth - we are free. We are healed. We are a new creation.
So if you are still struggling or still feeling stuck in something, it's not about working out the right thing to do. It's not about improving yourself, or getting better at being 'good' - it's about surrendering all to God and letting His love transform your mind and heart and every corner of your life.
His Grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in weakness.
You can't fix your life yourself - and why would you try? Just lay it down and receive the new life Jesus died and rose again to give you as a beautiful, powerful and glorious gift.
And every time you do, you will find grace and love to wash away more and more of the old lies and the old habits, and you are transformed, piece by piece, as you become more and more aligned with the kingdom of God.