And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] 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[b] 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? 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 7:18-25 NLT
If you’ve been walking with Christ very long at all, you’ll recognize yourself in Paul’s words toward the end of the seventh chapter of Romans.
On one hand, we are growing in our faith and desiring a deeper relationship with Him. We know this is the best way.
On the other hand, our inclination to sin is very strong. It is our natural bent to take the easy way. Let’s face it. It is much easier to go our own way.
Isn’t it interesting that the closer we are living with God, the more obvious our sin becomes? I’m not sure where I heard it, but it is much like approaching a mirror. From a distance, everything looks fine, but as I come closer and closer to the mirror I am more and more aware of the obvious flaws.
Paul is expressing an honest, transparent view of the Christian battle, but he also wants us to understand a couple of things about our lives.
- We can’t make it on our own. No amount of struggle on my own terms can make a difference. We must be brutally honest with ourselves and remove the masks we put on for others to see. Is surrender beginning to sound familiar?
- We are totally dependent on the grace and mercy of God, so Paul reminds us – “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”