Day 17

The Good I Want to Do

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 7:14-25, Galatians 5:16-26, 1 John 1:8-10

My dad was a pastor, so I was pretty familiar with the Bible growing up. Check that. My dad was a Southern Baptist pastor in the 70s and 80s, so I grew up doing sword drills and memorizing Scripture as part of the air I breathed as a kid. But it seems now there was a lot of the Bible we touched on and a lot we skipped over.

Like Romans, for instance. I knew a lot of this book. I knew the “Roman Road to heaven” in high school. But there was a lot in this book I did not discover until college.

Take Romans 7, for example. I can remember the first time I got ahold of Paul’s own wrestling. I can remember the “aha!” moment pretty well, actually. I remember it so well because of how it made me feel less alone in my struggle with sin. Whether it was in my own head or because I heard someone say it, I walked away with the thought, “so this is the Christian life.”

That was a pretty revolutionary moment. Up until then I’d bought into the idea that if I was a real Christian, I would not struggle with sin as Paul describes. I would always be saying no to sin and yes to righteousness. What felt like a cosmic battle between good and evil within my own heart, which often made me feel sick to my stomach, was surely a sign of how carnal I was.

But this was Paul. Paul was the man. And it was clear he struggled too.

That was a beginning a for me. I felt less alone and more free to talk about my struggles instead of pretend to have it all together. It was a slow process, but it was sure. As one who wanted to follow Jesus and be holy, I was glad to know that struggling was a sign of fighting. And fighting was a sign of following Jesus.

I think we assume sin will kind of fade away from us as we grow in the faith. And that is true to a point. As Paul taught in chapter 6, we have been set free from sin (6:18). But there will be seasons when we struggle in big ways. And as we grow older and wiser, we will see our sinfulness and our need for His grace more clearly. So really, what Paul reveals to us is good news: We will struggle. But that means we are fighting. And fighting is a dead giveaway that we are believing the gospel and following Christ.

Written by Matthew B. Redmond

Post Comments (4)

4 thoughts on "The Good I Want to Do"

  1. Charles says:

    For years I have had the stomach reaching feeling of struggling with sin in my life. I’m a Christian and I love Jesus, but yet I still have sin pop up in my life and I will get lost in that. At those times I had forgotten what Paul is saying hear in this passage. But now I will hold and cling to this scripture, knowing that I am not alone in my struggle, this gives me strength. I’ve shied away from sharing this with my brothers in Christ. , even the close ones who God has put in my life for this purpose. But now I will lean and trust the word and share my struggle with the so that we can be built up together and able to defend ourselves in times of struggles. I love the fact that struggling. Is a sign of fighting.

  2. John Lombardi says:

    As I grow as a Christian, I often think that I will come to a point of arrival.

    If I put enough work in, I will pass any test that comes my way; gone will be the days where temptation got the best of me. I find myself incredibly disappointed when I fail: “You STILL haven’t gotten over this? What’s the problem man?!”

    “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24)

    Paul, I’m right there with you brother.

    With that failure, I pick myself up and am reassured that if only I read scripture more often, this won’t happen again. If only I pray more often, this won’t happen again. If only I confess immediately to my sin instead of wrestling with shame. If only… If only… If only… It can drive you mad.

    Arrival to me means that once I learn to live by the Spirit, I will never get out of step with the Spirit – as though I am in a marching band, never out of step to the tap of the Spirit’s drum cadence. But the reality is I will fail. I will never reach a point of arrival.

    “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Rom. 7:18)

    Thank God I can rely on His power, and not my own. Thank God that even though I will never truly arrive, He is still there willing to guide me.

  3. Adam says:

    Thank you God for allowing us to see that even Paul struggles with doing right. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise because you use broken people throughout the whole Bible. Help me remember to fight to follow Christ and when I struggle with temptation to remember Christ is the the redeemer who has given us grace and conquered sin.

  4. Kyle says:

    I’ve always loved this section of Romans. The back and forth between knowing what is good and still sinning is one of the most relatable parts of the Bible to me, and really shows Paul was just like us as we walk with God.

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