Oh, we’ve all been there. You know, you do something that you KNOW you shouldn’t do, yet you feel that you are somehow powerless to stop! And then you go on REPEATING this same bad behavior again and again, knowing all the while that it is simply foolish.
Well, we are in good company. The apostle Paul was no stranger to the same inner struggle that we have today. In Romans 7:18-24, Paul is crying out,
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. 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. 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. I have discovered this principle of life –that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?”
Yikes!!! That’s me!! Paul isn’t talking in past tense, he is saying, “I” and he isn’t talking to unbelievers, either! As christians we feel uncomfortable admitting to compulsive behavior because we think that our faith should eliminate those problems. But they are real problems and they are happening day after day.
In the 24th verse Paul asks who will free him from this life, and in the 25th verse he offers hope.
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” Romans 7:25
Paul says we are going to find struggle and conflict as a follower of Christ. He is saying that we are going to wrestle with our inside war…everyday. WHY??? Because sin lives inside of us and there is no escaping. And as long as we are living, we will face this struggle.
How many times have you done something SO stupid and then someone will ask you WHY you did it? And all you can come up with is, “I don’t know.” THAT is what Paul is saying! He WANTS to do what is right, but he can’t. He WANTS to do what is good, but he doesn’t
Wow……so NOW what?? OOOh, read on! In Romans 8, Paul climbs out of his pit and SHOUTS! (Well, I’m guessing that he shouted) …
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
WOO HOO!! As christians, we are IN Christ! We’re covered!!! PHEW!!!
So you might be thinking, does the fact that you struggle make you a bad christian? NO! It just makes you an EXCELLENT candidate for the grace of God. I believe that God wants us to rely solely on Him and to trust Him ….and Him alone.
So now we know that we are in good company. We all struggle…..and we all need to put on our “armor” and run to the cross!!!!
Romans 8:37 says, “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us.”