So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 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. 20 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.
21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power[b] within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. -Romans 7:14-25
What I find amazing about this dude and what has led me to read this scripture over and over in awe, is that he was one of the closest (spiritually and physically) followers of Jesus. This is Apostle Paul.
I think one of the biggest struggles for me in my spiritual journey is addressed right here in this scripture. My whole life I’ve done the opposite of what I’ve known was right, inevitably stunting my growth in my faith, even after knowing what was right.
But this a part of the human-spiritual experience. And this is evident back then and also nowadays.
Contemplating our sin is not new. I think so many of us discredit the accounts in the bible and hesitate to relate or be soothed by them because of the difference in time periods. Yet I understand because time changes a lot of things. What it does change is perspectives and it changes our view on what we find acceptable and not acceptable for ourselves and the world around us. That’s what has changed. However, time does not change God and it does not change the nature behind sin.
Paul doesn’t identify his sin. His sin could have been stealing money. It could have been sleeping around or it could have been the habit of lying, but that’s not the point. The point is he is human and he recognizes he is struggling with it.
That’s only half the battle though. God has made me aware of my sin several times throughout the last 12 years. I used to take it and beat myself with the reminder.
In fact, becoming aware of my sin made me want to run to my sin, knowing that I was making the wrong decision, I still did it, time and time again. It was easier to submit to it, to heed and partner up with it every time I was reminded of it-as Paul states, it was easier to be a slave to my sin. I didn’t mind being ignorant to it before though. I didn’t mind not knowing better because then I wouldn’t be attacking myself in such contemplation. I thought God reminded me to cloak myself in shame and furthermore I thought that it revealed the nature of God-a condemning, angry figure who was ready to let his wrath on me.
But how do we grow if we don’t know? How do we get to better if we don’t know better.
God only wants the best for us, and the best he had for me was not found in my sin. Believe it or not, it was not found in my wild thoughts of partying and being caught up in such a lifestyle. His best for me wasn’t found in the countless men and relationships I’d invest my time into. His best for me wasn’t found in my busiest days, trying to edge off the pain from my past. That is not where he held his best for me. Yet, every time I started contemplating my sin, I’d invest into it more and more.
That’s the nature of sin though. It’s possessive-it controls you. It took a lot of running to my master (sin) to realize I’m not reminded of my sin to show me how I hold the inability to defeat it, but to show me I have the power to overcome it. We aren’t reminded of it to be reminded of the worst part of us, but we are reminded of it to have the opportunity to approach the best us.
Contemplating sin is inevitably a part of the good fight. If we aren’t aware of it, we don’t know any better-we think its okay. Then we settle for less than. When we know better, we can do better-we can achieve our best. This is what God is trying to get us to, our best. When we know better and we still allow sin to control us, it is fulfilling its purpose through us-which is against us. Its purpose is to defeat our purpose.
My prayer is the next time you contemplate your sin, you realize the truth in your contemplation-that being aware of that sin is a chance of liberation. Not a chance to return to it-not answering it’s call to your name, but answering the call to a better you.
“Contemplating our sin can be like nails on a chalkboard. We don’t want to go there, but it makes Christ’s forgiveness and grace even more meaningful” -Catalyst Publishing