Sometimes it’s best to use bullet points; they help me think.
“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
I want to do what is right, but I can’t.
I want to do what is good, but I don’t.
I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.”
Romans 7:18-20, NLT
“How can you be so inconsistent? I feel like there are two ‘Bryans,’ I don’t understand how you can live like this.”
This is what a dear friend said to me recently. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t know how to answer. It was a bit embarrassing, but I couldn’t respond. Later, the Spirit ministered to me while praying about it.
The Lord spoke, “He has no idea how bad you really are. Don’t you dare defend yourself!’
I now realize I should have said this to my friend. “You’re absolutely right, I am a bit of a flake. But you only see the veneer, deep down I’m much worse than you will ever know. I can’t defend my actions, and I desperately need a Savior. Would you pray for me to work this out?”
The daily struggle with sin is sometimes more visible than we would like. Even as a believer I can and do sin. That should surprise no one, and yet, I am the most surprised when sin inevitably breaks out. (Inconsistency is a factor in Bipolar disorder, but this is more than that.)
I’ve recently realized that in spite of almost 50 years of following Jesus that I’ve sinned more as a believer than I have ever done as a ‘worldling.’ I’m kinda embarrassed by this.
In Romans 7 we are confronted with a man who is constantly disappointed in himself. It can be wrenching to read– partly because it is so real. It describes us too well. At times the Word is like looking into a mirror.
Romans 7 describes what is wrong with us, for we are attempting to keep the law from our own efforts. We slide from grace when we attempt to stand before God in our self-righteousness. (We have a strong tendency to do this at times.)
“We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.”
We have a problem when our heart doesn’t match our actions. It gets a little hairy when our sin is visible to others. We feel like hypocrites and our testimony is official ‘toast.’
Sometimes, we’re reasonably certain we’ve shamed Christ in some irrevocable way. But do understand a lot of this can be satanic, for he indeed is “the accuser of the brethren,” (Rev 12:10).
Whenever we stand before God, we should never come with our list of great things we have recently done for Him. It won’t be accepted. They are at best, filthy rags. They’re not fit for a King’s court. But yet we keep coming, parading our dirty, grimy rags.
I wonder when we boldly ‘strut’ into His presence if the angels don’t ‘roll their eyes?’
We forget that only Christ’s righteousness is accepted. Heaven is satisfied with His atoning blood that covers every sin. The tension we feel in Romans 7 is there because it turns us away from our self-efforts. Our ‘confusion’ over this chapter indicates the depth of our attempt to be righteous on our own.
“The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”