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 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? Romans 7:21-24
Does anyone else read this and feel so understood?
I mean, you would think the Apostle Paul read my mail the last time I made a decision for change – and then totally blew it.
Like the last time I swore that I wasn’t going to yell at my kids.
Or the numerous declarations I have made for a 30-day sugar fast.
And the past 3 Januarys I resolved to read through the Bible over the course of a year.
Or the gym membership I pay monthly but never use.
And the countless times I swore to be a better wife.
Or not binge eating the birthday cake left over in the fridge.
Don’t forget the “My diet starts tomorrow” mentality.
And of course the morning, “I am never drinking again” resolution.
WE HAVE ALL SAID SOMETHING ALONG THESE LINES, RIGHT?
How is it that we – as perfectly capable, successful, determined human beings – make goals THAT ARE PERFECTLY ATTAINABLE but fail to follow-through?
Are we really that weak and unmotivated?
Well, according to Romans 7:24, it isn’t that we are pansies, but instead are AT WAR and don’t realize it.
I have lived so many days, months and YEARS in silent SHAME and embarrassment because of this start-stop-fail cycle. So discouraged by the exact same patterns I tend to fall right back into after I HAVE DECLARED “NEVER AGAIN!”
But this Romans passage should shed ALL THE LIGHT in the world on your patterns. Actually…. let me shine THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD on your struggles and let’s put an end to this madness today.
“THANK GOD! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to do God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. 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…” Romans 7:25-Romans 8:2
Y’all, stop right now. Go get a highlighter and your Bible and color this one bright!!
There is HOPE to break free of your habitual cycle of start-stop-fail. And Paul says it best, “THANK GOD! THE ANSWER IS JESUS!”
Is that not the best phrase of all time, ever?!
THE ANSWER IS JESUS. He has given us an OUT from our apathy, lethargy and addictions. Left to our own strength “What miserable people we are!” as Paul says.
But drum roll…. THE POWER OF THE LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT HAS FREED YOU from the power of sin.
How do we walk this out? How do we, in the moment, not give way to our temptations?! Well… that comes in partnering with the Holy Spirit. It is an in-the-moment-surreneder to the Life-Giving Spirit when you WANT to scream at your kids or give up on your health goals. It is a constant RENEWAL OF THE MIND (Romans 12:2) in all these areas of defeat until your re-write the TAPE THAT PLAYS in your head.
Here is what this looks like…..
Your thought is: “Gah, I always fail at fitness commitments.”
Instead you PRACTICE thinking/saying, “This time the Lord empowers me to follow-through with my fitness commitments.”
Over and over and over. And instead of NOT doing what you said you would do and FEEL MISERABLE about it, you recall that you ONCE were slave to this pattern but “THANK GOD! THE ANSWER IS JESUS.”
Y’all, I genuinely think this one-liner could change our lives FOREVER.
Today, I do NOT want to yell at my kids…. THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
Today begins my 30-day sugar fast….THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
I resolve to read through the Bible over the course of a year…THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
I am going to workout in the gym this week…THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
Today, my heart is to be a better wife…THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
The birthday cake left over in the fridge does not own me….THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
“My diet starts tomorrow” and THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
“I REALLY am never drinking again” because THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
Friends. This is life-changing.
YOUUUUUU don’t stink. Your sin does.
But now you know…. this is war. AND YOU WIN.
And of course you know how….. say it with me…..THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!
- What areas do you “want to do what is right but inevitably do what is wrong?”
- Can you grab a pen and re-write the script today with this knowledge? You do NOT have to go at this alone. Jesus Christ has FREED YOU from this enslavement and gives you the Life-Giving Power to overcome.
- Fill in the blank: “I really struggle with bondage to ________________________________________. But THANK GOD THE ANSWER IS JESUS!”