“I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.” Rom. 7:21; NASB
The Apostle Paul wrote this passage. I somehow find it comforting that the author of almost two-thirds of the New Testament had some of the same battles the rest of us have. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior our sins are forgiven, and we each become a new creature (see 2 Cor. 5:17). We are “born again” or born from above. Our once dead spirit is given life, the life that Christ died for. That doesn’t mean our lives will be void of troubles. It means we will be aware of our sinfulness in a way we were not capable of before our conversion.
In chapter seven of Paul’s letter to the Romans he reflects on his battle with sin. His battle was really no different from yours or mine. In verse 15 he says: “For what I am doing I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” How many times have you thought things you know are wrong, but you continue to dwell on them? Wrong thoughts, if allowed to continue, can lead to wrong actions. For instance, let’s say you’ve been working long hours for a while and it doesn’t seem to be appreciated. You think about calling in sick just to get a break, but you know that would be lying. If you dwell on that thought process long enough, you will eventually justify the sick day even though you had to lie to get it. Although you hate lying (and being lied to), you give yourself a pass because of the situation. Chances are you won’t even enjoy your ill-gotten day off because you lied to get it. (I’m assuming the lying would convict you, and if not, there’s something more serious that needs attention)
There is evil in each of us. It’s commonly referred to as our flesh. God’s Spirit in you is in conflict with your fleshly desires. This is the whole point of what Paul is talking about. We must be careful not to allow feelings of guilt and shame to come over us when we make mistakes. Paul finally comes to the point in his battle where he says: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24) He immediately answers his own question: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vs. 25).
There will be times when you feel tempted to do the wrong thing and you may do it knowing it’s the wrong thing to do. This doesn’t mean your salvation is in jeopardy. Feeling convicted about doing (or even thinking) the wrong thing is evidence of Christ in you. Paul finally gives us the best conclusion there could be to this battle. He writes: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 8:1)
Thank you, thank you Jesus!!
Have a great week and God bless.