We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:14-15
In our text for today, the Apostle Paul reveals the personal inner anguish all of us can feel when we fail to do as we know we ought. We know we should not listen to co-workers gossiping in the break room about a fellow’s life but we we can’t seem to bring ourselves to leave. We know we shouldn’t watch certain shows on television or visit certain web sites but Facebook knows us well enough to advertise them to us.
The result can be tortuous. We can feel guilty, ashamed, and locked in a pattern of behavior we feel powerless to change. Like any creature, we yearn for homeostasis. We long for personal integration and the failure of our actions to coincide with our identity in Christ can make us, like Paul, wonder “who will set us free from this body of death”.
At that moment we have a God-given opportunity to choose our path. We can either allow what we do to determine who we are, or we can allow who we are to determine what we do.
If we disagree with God and the work He has done in us, then we will concede that we are reprobates, accept our ill behavior on that basis and conclude that God was wrong. He lacked either the power or the will to cleanse us.
If we agree with God and the work He is doing in us, we can enter into that life of sanctification in which we accept our identity and allow God to lead us in new patterns of living. Sometimes the change is immediate and joyful, sometimes slow and laborious. In either case, the trajectory is ever toward God and His holiness.
What determines which path we will take is whether we believe what God says about us. If we are not reborn, no amount of good deeds can make us like Christ. If we are, our stumbling will not make us any less so. Let’s choose to walk in the truth, my friends, and see our path grow ever brighter.