In past few days I have felt the cloud of deadness and apathy begin to clear. I can see, though still somewhat bleakly, the joy that was mine before I fell into various sins and despondency. I now realize that my joy did not derive from striving to keep my mind renewed with how I ought to behave as a Christian, though I am not trying to devalue the value of good behavior.
It's apparent to me now that my joy and motivation always had it's source in the Gospel, I just was not aware of it. I thought those things came from my striving to please God under the Law, so much so that I strongly desired to be back under the Law and fear because my behavior had gotten so severely out of line in nearly every respect.
The mistake I made before was believing in the Gospel, but at times giving into the despair that the Law brings. I thought it was the terror of the Law that kept me in line, but in reality the Law was nothing but a hindrance to me in having joy and love for Christ. The truth is, it was my partial misunderstanding of doctrine that took advantage of my love for God, born from my belief in the Gospel, and tempted me to run to the Law because I so wanted to please Christ. I didn't know, even after coming to a sincere faith in Christ alone, that it was always the power of the Gospel that was holding me up! My zeal for the Law only gave me setbacks. I had moments of such a pure faith in the Gospel that enabled me to move mountains, but then I would allow the Law to resurface and be offered up to my conscience through whatever agent the devil could utilize, be it teachers or my own temptations to revert back to the Law.
In truth, the Gospel is the only thing I have been given to have power from sin, death, hell, fear and the devil. My fallen flesh is ceaselessly tempted to revert back to the Law, sin and unbelief.
True, I needed my mind renewed in times of temptation and weakness, but I wrongly judged that the mind needed to be renewed with the Law. The Law has no power in restraining my flesh, nor can I afford, by the flesh, to continue to have my mind renewed with it's requirements, no matter how much I try to muster up the consistency to keep my mind renewed with pure living and noble behavior. The only thing that softens my heart is the Gospel. The Gospel is the only thing I can eat of constantly and never grow full or nauseous.
It is so easy, even after having a revelation of grace, to revert back to the Law. Hence all the exhortations to "stay awake" and "be alert of mind" that are in the Scriptures.
The Law does not have the capacity within it to shake you out of apathy, despondency and sin; it can only worsen the problem.