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. —Romans 7:21–25
Do you have new desires to do what God says? If so, then you’re in the fight. Do you trust the Bible as God’s Word and want to learn from it for your obedience? If so, then you’re in the struggle.
Is your inner being sometimes at war against your outer desires? Is there a struggle between who you are at the deepest level and what you do? All Christians struggle with temptation, but our deepest desires are for the things of God, and our weaker desires are temptations that remove the will to follow God.
Do you know what is right in your mind and get frustrated when you don’t do it? You’re in the fight. Do you hate who you are in the flesh—angry, broken, drunk, violent, disappointed, shamed, and cowardly? Do you really prefer who you are in the Spirit—repentant, clean, hopeful, loving, gracious, and sober? You’re in the fight. Do you sometimes feel beat up and worn out by your battle with your flesh? Paul uses the language of “Wretched man that I am!” (v. 24). He is a weary warrior who has been at war for a long time. He’s exhausted. This is where we need to live by the power of the Holy Spirit, because the only way to overcome demonic spirits is with Him. We, in and of our own power, cannot overcome that which is evil. We need the goodness of God to empower us to fight the good fight.
Are you thankful that Jesus is your Lord? You’re living your life on the Earth. You have some good days and some bad days, some wins and some losses, and some victories and some defeats. Over your life is the law of
God, but above the law is your Lord. Sometimes, all we’re looking at is the law—“Am I good or bad? Did I obey or disobey?” Yes, we need to look at the law, but we need to look through the law and see the Lord who is the Lord over the law.
Throughout Romans 7, Paul has been talking about our relationship with the law, and he ends with our relationship with God, who is Lord over the law. His name is Jesus. If all we do is look to the law, then all we see is our sin. But if we look up to the Lord, then we see our Savior. It is not that we live up to the demands of the law but it is that our Lord comes down and pulls us up so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can start to obey the law.
For those of you who are parents: Your child has the flesh because they’ve not yet received the Spirit. You can’t simply work on behavior modification; you need nature regeneration for your child. Thus, our goal is not to make our children better but for God to make them new.
What can you be grateful for right now while you are in the struggle?
This is an excerpt from Theology for Everybody: Romans, a 365-Day Devotional, Click here to get your copy.
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