Torn

14 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.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 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 (NLT)

 

I sometimes beat myself up when I slip up and do/say/think something that I shouldn’t. I would guess that I am not alone in this. I have been “in church” my entire life and I have claimed to be a Christian for the majority of it. With me it’s not an issue of not knowing what I believe to be wrong and right. I recognize that there will always be gray areas we disagree over. However, I would venture to say that the overwhelming majority of the things that I do that are wrong do not fall into that category. Usually it’s something that I have done before and I am firmly convinced that it is wrong. If that’s the case, why do I keep doing some of those things? Paul seems to be addressing this very issue in Romans 7.

He describes it as a war between the mind and the body. He says that he knows what is good and wants to do it but he keeps doing the wrong that he knows he shouldn’t. I think the image of a war is perfect. I feel that same tension in my life. I have been listening to a band called All Star United this morning and one of the songs on their first album addresses the same thing.

It’s excruciating
I know you need to know where we stand
Is there harm in waiting?
Is this my only chance to take your hand?

I’m torn in two by what I should or should not do
Torn, I’m torn in two, will you wait for me, if I run from you?

I really must confess
It feels like there’s a war in me
I’m drawn to those who offer less
But is this really where I need to be?

I’m torn in two by what I should or should not do
Torn, I’m torn in two, will you wait for me, if I run from you?

Over this I’m losing rest I can’t bear to turn away
If I try a second guess oh, I gamble it away, I’m torn

Torn, I’m torn in two, will you wait for me, should I run from you?

lyrics by Ian Eskelin

 

I think Eskelin echoes Paul’s words perfectly. It is a war. There are two sides trying to tear us apart. Often times we know that we’re being pulled away from where God wants us and we still go. Our sinful natures (which are weak) give in. May God give us the strength to fight the war and win. The truth is, He already has. Romans 8:1 tells us:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

We will have set backs. We will slip up and stumble sometimes. We will choose to do wrong even when we know we shouldn’t. However, the blood of Jesus has saved us and we find grace, mercy, and forgiveness in him. In our weakness, he is strong.

Grace and peace.

 

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