“In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.” Romans 7:15 (LB)
In Romans 7, Paul honestly shares his frustrations with his fellow believers. They are the same frustrations you and I face daily. Where do they come from? They come from trying to please God on our own power and in our own way.
The Bible calls that “living under the law.” We know the law and we’re just going to keep forcing ourselves to do the right thing. There are emotional costs that result from living under the law.
I covered three of them yesterday, and today I’ll show you the final three that Paul highlights in Romans 7:15-23.
- You will experience self-condemnation. Self-condemnation is when you start to feel bad and judge yourself, because you continually give in to your temper or laziness or whatever you struggle with and don’t want to. As the Apostle Paul said, “I know I’m rotten on the inside, as far as my old sinful nature is concerned” (Romans 7:18 LB).
- You will experience frustration. “No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t! … I find myself still enslaved to sin” (Romans 7:18-20 LB). The Bible calls this the law of sin. The law of sin is like the law of gravity – it always pulls you down. And the law of sin will continue no matter how hard you try to break your bad habits simply by willpower.
- You will experience discouragement and despair. Paul said, “In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin” (Romans 7:23 LB). Paul recognized that every day there was a battle going on inside his mind. Continually losing that battle because you’re fighting it with your own power will eventually lead to discouragement and despair.
“So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in” (Romans 7:24 LB). The word predicament in Greek means “totally exhausted.” Are you exhausted, like Paul was, from the inner battle? Hold on because Jesus brings us hope!
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This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Rick Warren. Used by permission.