“Why did I say that?” “Why did I eat that?” “Why did I do that, again?”
One of the clearest descriptions of the struggle for mastery of self is recorded in the Bible, in the letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Romans. Paul, an extremely disciplined and highly educated follower of the Law wrote:
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do . . . 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…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?” (Romans 7:15;18b-19;22-24)NIV.
Thankfully, Paul doesn’t leave us hanging, but finishes with this:
Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25a
Those of us who have placed our faith in the finished work of Christ know that we can do nothing to earn forgiveness for our sins. We understand that we can do nothing to create a new heart, free from the bondage of death and sin. These are gifts offered by the saving life of Christ, through acceptance of Him as our Savior and Lord. He lived a perfect life, died a sinless death, and bore our sinfulness that we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
What many of us forget is that the story of redemption doesn’t stop with the death and burial of Christ. His resurrection, His ascension to the Father, and His promise to send the Comforter, His Holy Spirit, mean He didn’t leave us to figure out life on our own. In the book of John, Jesus explains that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth, and actually live inside of us, empowering us with the very life of Christ Himself. (John 14-17)
We are free to be fully the selves God intended as we yield to His Holy Spirit in us, one choice, one moment at a time.
About the Writer:
Nan is so grateful to belong to God’s people. She loves getting to know all kinds of people and enjoys discovering new places, which is a good thing since she’s moved twenty five times. She has been married to Jim, a pastor, for 34 years, and together they have four grown kids, a son in love, and three grand puppies.