This is my favorite coffee shop, Port City Java, located in beautiful, historic, downtown Wilmington, NC. I have spent several hours sitting at this table, thinking about life. There’s something about the atmosphere of this coffee shop that helps me clear my head and focus.
I have sat in this window seat and watched it pour down rain, viewed rush hour traffic, and witnessed movie stars getting coffee (by the way, Wilmington is also known as “Hollywood East”). I’ve been at this table and felt closer to God than ever, and I have also sat in this spot and felt more afraid and alone than I care to remember. But no matter how I’m feeling when I arrive at Port City Java, once I get a Grande House Coffee and sit in my favorite spot for a while, life starts getting better. It becomes a New Day!
Recently, I was sitting at PCJ journaling and listening to my iPod. I was dwelling on a particular struggle that seems to plague me constantly. The song, “New Day”, by Robbie Seay Band, shuffled through my iPod. It was a perfect moment in time as I heard these lyrics through my earbuds:
I’m gonna sing this song, To let you know that you’re not alone, And if you’re like me, You need hope, coffee, and melody, So sit back down, Let the world keep spinning ‘round, For yesterday’s gone and today is waiting on you to show your face
It might not be, The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see, But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day, And it might not look like, A beautiful sunrise, But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day
There’s a book in the Old Testament called Lamentations and a lot of people tend to skip over it. However, one of my favorite passages of Scripture can be found in Lamentations 23:22-24:
”God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, His merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left.”
That’s The Message translation and I like it, a lot! The writer paints a picture of God’s merciful love as being new every morning. For me, that’s a relief. I need a fresh start every day and I am so very thankful that God provides one for me. But sometimes, like when I’m really struggling with a particular sin, I forget this truth. At times, it seems that no matter how hard I try, I deal with the same sin over and over again. And to make matters worse, I beat myself up for not being stronger and for failing to conquer that which overpowers me. It’s a vicious circle, and right in the center of it is where the enemy wants me to live. But when I’m spiraling downwards, and can remember to look up, God reminds me of Lamentations 23:22-24; then it becomes a New Day for me.
It’s a new day because God is merciful, loving, and gracious. Through His Son Jesus, God dealt with my sin, past, present, and future, once and for all. In essence, He made it a “New Day” for each of us. Does that mean we give up struggling and just give in to our temptations? By no means! However, it does mean that even though we get weak in our fight against sin, we can find some comfort through Christ, in whom the war has already been won. Rob Bell speaks of this so poignantly in his book Velvet Elvis, “In the end, Love wins!”.
Romans Chapter 7 is section of the Bible that I read over and over; you could say I live there. In this part of Scripture, the Apostle Paul describes his own personal struggle with sin. Paul tells the reader in Chapter 7, verses 18-19 “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Maybe it means I’m a bit warped, but I find great comfort in the fact that the guy whom God used to write most of the New Testament struggled just like I do.
Paul later makes this statement, “But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.” In other words, there is a war going on between our flesh and our spirit. And no matter how hard we may fight in the flesh, we must remember that it’s a spiritual battle. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12.
Here’s the bottom line: we are going to struggle with sin and sometimes lose the fight; it’s inevitable. This is not an excuse, nor is it a license to give in to temptation and go on sinning; its just a fact. But instead of beating ourselves up over and over and allowing defeat to dominate our minds and our hearts, we should remember that the battle has already been won. We can find comfort in the fact that God creates “A New Day” for each of us by making his merciful love new every morning. That’s great news!
On a practical level, find someone you trust and share your struggles with them. Accountability doesn’t mean you’ll stop struggling completely, but it will make it much easier to deal with; and you will be a healthier person for it. Don’t try it alone, regardless of how strong you think you are. If kept in secret, your sin will grow into a monster that you will be unable to fight. It will both consume and destroy your life. Eventually, all sin is exposed; no matter how hard you try to hide it. What you do in private will inevitably become public. So, would you rather it become public with a close, trusted friend who can hold you accountable? Or, would you rather it become public before a much larger group like your peers or your family?
Whatever your struggle is, remember that you’re not alone. Take a breath, find your favorite spot, and rest in these lyrics by Robbie Seay:
I’m gonna sing this song, To let you know that you’re not alone, And if you’re like me, You need hope, coffee, and melody, So sit back down, Let the world keep spinning ‘round, For yesterday’s gone and today is waiting on you to show your face It might not be, The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see, But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day, And it might not look like, A beautiful sunrise, But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day