By Lou Coleman
Paul summarizes it in [Romans 7:15-16, 18], “My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really hate, and not doing what I really want to do…” Can you relate to this? He’s saying all the things I don’t want to do I end up doing and all the things I do want to do I end up not doing. I want to do what’s right, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what’s bad, but I do. Even though I know what the right thing to do is, why can’t I bring myself to do it?
Struggling with sin is frustrating. You want to change. But you just can’t. You have the motivation. But you don’t have the determination. You have the desire to do what is right. But for some reason, you can’t do it. Paul says it’s because evil is right there alongside of us. Evil — not just bad choices, Evil itself. We live in that kind of world. A world where the force of Sin, the force of Evil has rubbed off on us. We’re affected by it, tainted by it and we can’t help it. We can’t avoid it, we can’t outwit it. No matter how much we may wish to serve God in our minds, we find ourselves sinning in our bodies. As Paul describes his frustration in [Romans 7], with his mind he desires to serve God. He wants to do what is right, but his body will not respond. He watches, almost as a third party, as sin sends a signal to his body and as his body responds, “What would you like to do?” Paul finds, as we do that while our fleshly bodies refuse to obey God and do that which we desire and which delights God, it quickly and eagerly respond to the impulses and desires aroused by sin. The interaction between the soul (mind, will, emotions) and our Spirit and our Body is where the decisive battles take place. It is a battle of rulership.
It is one thing to have our body not do what we tell it to and quite another to realize that our body is very obedient to something else. That is the frustration of Paul in [Romans 7]. Every Christian who reads [Romans 7:14-25] should immediately identify with Paul’s expression of frustration and agony due to the weakness of his fleshly body: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” [Romans 7:24]. We are confronted with a dilemma as we try to live righteously. Thanks be to God though, there is a solution!
Jesus said in [Mark 14:38], “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” If you’ve felt this way, have I got good news for you! You can change. The power is there. The Bible makes the principles very clear. GOD’S PROMISE… “Jesus said, ‘When you know the Truth, the Truth will set you free. ’Set you free.” Jesus said that the way you break free from a hurt, from a hang up is by knowing the Truth. How? The way you think determines the way you feel. The way you feel determines the way you act. God says you start with the way you think. Bad beliefs cause bad behavior. Everything you do, good or bad, is based on a belief. If you want to change the way you act, you have to change the way you believe, the way you think. You’ve got to have the truth. And what is the Truth? Jesus declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me” [John 14:6]. Truth personified. He is the source of all truth, the embodiment of truth and therefore the reference point for evaluating all truth-claims. Who wants to be free? Jesus is on the mainline, tell Him what you want… You just call Him up and tell Him what you want!