I know that good does not live in me—that is, in my human nature. For even though the desire to do good is in me, I am not able to do it. I don’t do the good I want to do; instead, I do the evil that I do not want to do. If I do what I don’t want to do, this means that I am no longer the one who does it; instead, it is the sin that lives in me. (verses 18-20)
Read Romans 7:13-25
Did you ever wake up one morning as a kid, determined to not sin for a whole day?
Whenever I tried this, I sinned almost before I was out of bed. Somehow trying not to sin simply heightened my awareness of how often I did sin. First I’d start to think of all the sins of omission I was doing (or should that be, not doing). Next came the confusion of thought sins. If l didn’t hit my sister even though I wanted to, was thinking about it enough to get another black mark in the ‘sins book’? By then I was so thoroughly grumpy about my own inability not to sin that I gave up and sinned really badly for the rest of the day.
Paul understood that side of humanity only too well. It is gratifying to know that even a Christian as devoted as Paul could have down days. Thank the Lord that you are not dependent on your good actions to be righteous in his sight. You are justified in his sight, bad days or not.
Help me, Lord, when my days are black and my thoughts are far from you. Guide me back to your light and calm my fears. Amen.
by Kathy Hoopman, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
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