Oh, What a Miserable Person I Am!:
“I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15).
Do you ever find that, in the Christian life, there are times when you do things you know you shouldn’t do? Or you don’t do the things you should do? I can totally relate to the above description the Apostle Paul gives of himself in Romans Chapter Seven. He too knew what it was like to struggle with the desires of our sinful nature. Listen to his heart as he cries out for freedom from sin. “I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway…I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?” (Romans 7:16-24, NLT).
Ever since I became a Christian, I have related to that struggle. I really want to do what is right, but I don’t always do it. Instead, I find myself doing the very thing I hate… I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t… I love God’s law with all my heart—BUT—there is another force at work within me… Do you ever feel like that? It’s like, Lord, I WANT to do what’s right, and I don’t WANT to sin, but I can’t help myself! Like the Apostle Paul, I cry out: Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin?
“Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 7:25). The Apostle Paul goes on to say in the very next verse, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1). What is the key to walking in freedom from sin? Walking in the spirit! When we live according to our new life in the Holy Spirit, then we won’t be doing what our sinful nature craves. So what are some things we can do to ensure we are walking in the spirit, and not in the flesh? Here are just a few things that I’ve discovered over the years that have helped me to walk in the Spirit, and live the kind of life that God wants me to live.
- Spend time with Jesus in prayer. I know this one sounds very basic, but it really is the most important one! If you abide in Jesus, you will naturally bear the fruit of the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lusts and desires of your sinful nature.
- Spend personal quiet times with the Lord in worship. This goes along with the first step. Close the door to your bedroom and turn on a praise and worship CD, and spend some time worshipping the Lord on your own. Sing, shout, dance, clap your hands, and celebrate His presence. Bow before Him in holy reverence, and bless His name. Get alone until you’re not alone anymore. Wait on the Lord and renew your strength, your vision, and purpose.
- Feed on God’s Word. Notice I didn’t just say ‘read your Bible’. You can read your Bible in a flippant, rushed sort of a manner, just because you feel it’s your religious duty, and it won’t do you any good. But when you realize that God’s Word will feed and strengthen your spirit, and develop your faith, and you take the time to meditate on and grasp the meaning of the words you’re reading, it will change your life in a powerful way.
- Guard your heart. We really need to use discernment in the media choices we make. Sure, maybe you won’t go to hell just because you watch an R rated movie, or listened to some ungodly, secular music, but I’ll tell you one thing—you’re not going to walk in the Spirit while you’re doing those things. You’re not going to have a passion and excitement about the things of God while you’re feeding those things into your spirit. You’re not going to live a radical, on-fire life, glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ, and impacting your world with the power of the Gospel. Instead, you’ll find yourself saying, “Oh, what a miserable person I am!” Friend, the choice is yours today. Will you choose to walk in the spirit, or walk after the flesh?
Pastor Chris Jordan