The complexity of human nature is difficult to explain and difficult to understand. The Apostle Paul would certainly agree. Eugene Peterson has put Paul’s words in the 7th Chapter or Romans into everyday language. It goes like this, “What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise….I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it. I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.”
There are so many areas in our lives where we continually amaze ourselves at our failure. For example…
We set standards for ourselves and then fail to live up to them.
We choose the worse when we know better.
We deceive ourselves by thinking we can avoid temptation on our own strength.
We demand a standard of living for others that we do not meet in our own lives.
We are slow to see the good in others and slow to see the evil in ourselves.
We can have a hard heart toward the faults of our neighbors and yet find excuses for our own faults.
Recognizing the greater extent of his own struggles and his own ability to overcome his shortfalls, Paul goes on to say, “I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me?’ And then he responds, “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
In our own strength we falter and fail. But in Jesus Christ we have understanding, forgiveness, help and strength to overcome. Our victory is in Jesus.
In His Love,