The start of the school year always brings up love/hate feelings. Some kids enthusiastically embrace the idea of returning to see their friends. Others dread the prospect of homework and arithmetic. Some parents tearfully watch their little ones traipse off to kindergarten (or college), while others do an inward happy dance with the return of a structured week.
This crazy mix of emotions creates conflicting attitudes and sometimes leads to strife — even in the same person. It highlights the all-too-human ability to hold divergent views. Our hearts and brains allow us to be excited about school while dreading it. They also allow us to thoroughly love a person while not being able to stand them in the midst of a fight. We can vacillate between hope and despair while watching a comeback attempt in the closing seconds of a football game or while trying to fix a difficult marriage.
Probably nowhere does that back-and-forth inward struggle happen more than when it comes to matters of faith. We delight in God's law while, at the same time, feeling the pull of sin (Romans 7:22-23). Acknowledging that these feelings coexist within us can cause a lot of stress. But honest Christians must recognize the spiritual battle going on inside before attempting to fix it.
And how do we fix it? The answer is: we don't. The solution to this mess isn't to try harder, nor is it to go insane. It is simply to remember who is in charge. "Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25). Remember that God's plan for eternity is better than this. One day in heaven, we will not struggle through sin and conflict. One day, love/hate will simply be love.
— Steve Howell is the Minister of Adult Education at Tonganoxie Christian Church.