Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Conflicting Feelings (John Newton)

I doubt a church could sing this poem very well, but like so many of Newton's works in the Olney Hymnal, this one stands as a brilliant little piece of easy poetry. Why is it we Christians can be so annoyingly inconsistent at times? Why is it I fail even after following Jesus for 32 years? 
Ah, it is a fallen and broken world in which we live. And we are broken, albeit "being fixed" kind of people. The battle with sin will end in the Great Day, not Tuesday. And that means there will be failures along the way.
On the one side, we feel like great victors over all. The next moment we lie to the little girl who opens the door for us. We are conflicted. One day we will be complete. Grace shall overcome at last...

Conflicting Feelings
Strange and mysterious is my life.
What opposites I feel within!
A stable peace, a constant strife;
The rule of grace, the power of sin:
Too often I am captive led,
Yet daily triumph in my Head.

I prize the privilege of prayer,
But oh! what backwardness to pray!
Though on the Lord I cast my care,
I feel its burden every day;
I seek His will in all I do,
Yet find my own is working too.

I call the promises my own,
And prize them more than mines of gold;
Yet though their sweetness I have known,
They leave me unimpressed and cold
One hour upon the truth I feed,
The next I know not what I read.

I love the holy day of rest,
When Jesus meets His gathered saints;
Sweet day, of all the week the best!
For its return my spirit pants:
Yet often, through my unbelief,
It proves a day of guilt and grief.

While on my Savior I rely,
I know my foes shall lose their aim,
And therefore dare their power defy,
Assured of conquest through His name,
But soon my confidence is slain,
And all my fears return again.

Thus different powers within me strive,
And grace and sin by turns prevail;
I grieve, rejoice, decline, revive,
And victory hangs in doubtful scale:
But Jesus has His promise passed,
That grace shall overcome at last.