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. (Romans 7:14, 15 ESV)
Probably the most frustrating thing about being a Christian is the fact that I am not perfect. If you’re like me, when you first heard about Jesus and the salvation He brings, you probably thought this was the end of all the problems in your life. And maybe for the first week, it was.
You were living life to the fullest, without sin and it felt fantastic!
Then, as you’re reading the Bible, you come across a verse that says just thinking something hateful towards someone is on the same level as murder. Boom, instant conviction. That’s what happened to me as I continued reading the Bible and I realized I was still sinning.
“It’s not like I want to, I really don’t! But I keep sinning. And I keep getting further from perfect. What up, Jesus?!”
After reading Paul in Romans, I realized I’m not the first one to struggle like this. “For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” resonated so much with me that I read more furiously to figure out how he had beaten this.
But the truth is, he didn’t really “beat sin” but rather Jesus did.
Taking a step back, Paul affirms a few things:
- There are two laws at war within him: the law of sin and the law of grace.
- Nothing good dwells in him (v. 18). Paul desires to do good but he can’t seem to do it. Because of the law of sin in his body, he isn’t able to carry it out.
“Well, duh, Paul! I know that struggle way too well! What gets me out of it?”
Paul goes on to say how wretched he is and wonders who will deliver him, a question I asked myself. His answer: Jesus. Simply Jesus.
See, when we start following Jesus, we are gifted with the Holy Spirit. God gives us part of Himself to live within us throughout the rest of our time in life. With that, we are no longer condemned, as long as we are in Christ.
Do you know what this means?
The law of sin is broken. The law of grace abounds. I won’t be made perfect overnight but instead, through a process called sanctification, that gift God has given me molds me over time into a new creature, a new person. I may never become something like a superhero, but I do grow closer to God.
And then this showed up:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8)
I kept thinking that just because I still had sin, that meant I was doing something wrong with my faith but really, I just needed to draw to God. And you know what is completely and utterly fantastic about that verse? It says that as we draw close to God, He comes closer to us! He meets us halfway! He’s not some distant figure; He is ready and willing to swoop in and help. As for temptation and sin? It tries to get at us but as long as you and I stay focused on God, those pansies high-tail it in the other direction!
The last part is for any misconceptions or fears you and I may have.
“But God, what about..” No.
“But God, what if…” No.
Don’t worry, just go to God. He meets halfway and is ready to help you beat whatever you’re dealing with.
With God over you, you’ll win the tug of wars in life.