Romans 7:14-25 - For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the Law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a Law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the Law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the Law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Paul talks about a situation that we are all very familiar with—a life where we try to do the good things that God wants us to do, but we keep falling into evil. For example, we start the day trying to show love and patience as we take care of our families, but then we find ourselves right back in the familiar cycle of complaining and arguing and yelling. We try to do our best at work, but some disaster ruins our good plans and we do the bare minimum just to get to the end of the day. No matter what we do, we find that sin is right there with us. There is a fight going on inside us, between the power of sin and the good, new nature God has planted in us.
This is normal for Christians! Paul was an apostle, and even he had this problem. Look at the verbs; Paul is writing in the present tense. So if you recognize this fight in yourself, you are in good company.
This drives Paul crazy, and he says, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" He knows that he cannot get free by his own power or strength. If you have tried to free yourself, you know that also. Nothing is going to end this fight except the power of God.
That is why Paul says, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Paul knows that even though there is still fighting inside, Jesus won the war at the cross. There He defeated sin, death, and the devil through His own suffering and death. When He rose from the dead, He made all of us who trust in Him alive again as well—alive with a new kind of life, the life of the children of God. Now the Holy Spirit is living in us, and He is remaking us in the image of Jesus.
Meanwhile we are still frustrated. But we live in hope, because we know that when Jesus takes us to be with Him forever, there will be no more fighting. His victory will be complete—and we will see it and rejoice.
THE PRAYER: Lord, help me with this frustrating fight. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What do you do when you're frustrated?
2. Is there one area of your Christian life that is really bugging you right now?
3. How do you find hope and strength in Jesus?
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