So I've been rummaging through all these goodies Joel has on his myspace, and I started to finish the video conference he had with a few other guys and I had gotten some clarity again. I suddenly understood what Paul says when he says "Through the law, I died to the law".
It struck me harder as to what the purpose of the law is, which is so blatantly clear in the New Testament epistles, that the point of the law is to bring us to the end of self-effort, not only for salvation, but for sanctification. I don't think something the Holy Spirit called "the ministry of death" should in anyway be used in the life of a Christian to bring success. We're so hard headed and so blind, even well meaning Christians can't see it. If you screw up, God isn't telling you to try harder, abstain from video games or television or re-dedicate yourself. He is yelling "Give up, already!!"
The more I experience my own stubbornness, the more I believe the only way to die to the law is through the law. Even when someone understands grace completely, human reasoning insists on using self effort to gain control of his or her life. Sort of like a dumb animal trying to go through a sliding glass door and keeps banging it's head over and over. So they think the way to get through it is to run faster and hit it harder. Of course, all this does is lead to more pain for the ignorant animal. They don't even notice the doggy door the owner of the animal made for them.
We totally miss the point. The law knocks us on our butts and we say "Re-Dedication!!!"
I don't say this like I've perfected this in anyway. But I've made the commitment to trust in Christ and not in myself. It is hard and very discouraging, and sometimes very scary. Most of the time, I don't have a clear understanding of grace, and I fight to regain it. I give up trying to mold myself into what I envision God wants me to be. And it sucks sometimes. I want to run back to dedicating self and forcing myself to be "good". But I can't. I know where that road leads. Anxiety, disappointment, and failure.
P.S. Thank you, Joel for all the stuff you put on your websites. I swear, everyday it's like I have a bag of goodies to snack on, lol