I have made a promise to get back to the daily devotions and I plan on doing my best to keep that promise. Though I do find it funny that I should say that considering the passage of scripture we are considering this morning. I have been working my way through Romans with the students and hope that you do not mind me picking up from where I left off on Friday, Romans 7:7-25.
We try to do a lot of things by human effort and ingenuity. We achieve quite a number of astonishing things when we get right down to it. Yet, we do not seem to be able to achieve much in ourselves. We are definitely doers but we are not great healers. What can we do about the human condition? Sure, we can beautify the outside, shave, wash our face, get a hair cut, put on clean clothes but we can't touch the inside. Its still as dirty as the day we were born.
Success isn't going to change anything either. Look at some of the great heroes of our day. A president having an affair in the oval office. Sports heroes using performance enhancing drugs. Recently a great sports hero was found guilty of lying in court to protect his son. It does not matter how hard we try the failure comes from something we have no control over. The Apostle Paul describes it this way:
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? vv 21-24
So let's back track just a little bit to understand the source of this problem:
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. vv 17-20
We can fancy it up all we want, call it by any name we want, the fact is that we are slaves to the sin nature we were born with. We may be able to put forward a good looking face to the public but we all know what lies on the inside. Earlier Paul had explained it:
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16
This is the part that we really seem to struggle with because there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. We were born this way. And this is the reason we need Jesus. He is the only solution to this problem. He is the only one who can break this mastery that sin has over us. We try it without him and we just end up where we started from. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. With Jesus all things are possible, including the breaking of the yoke that binds us to our sinful nature. You can try everything that you want to rescue yourself, they will all fail. Only the blood of Jesus is efficient to free us from the slavery so we can be clear in our thinking as we decide who we will be a slave to.
My advice, stop fighting with yourself, you will only lose. Instead, ask Jesus to clean up your act and then see how it all works out.