Afterwards I felt horrible. How could I say such a thing and in such a place? I was guilty. I felt guilty. I had gossiped about a young child to another mother – in a church basement, no less.
I was angry with myself. Why do I do things I don’t want to do? Then as I was reading my Bible, it occurred to me. In Romans 7:15-20 Paul talks of this very thing. He writes, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
If Paul, who was an apostle of Christ, could suffer from these problems, then I was sure I could learn from him. So I continued to read his letter to the Romans. In it, he talks about how we are all sinners but how we can be free from the control of sin. We cannot do this on our own, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit.
He talks about the fact that although I have the best of intentions, many times sin gets the best of me. Sin can be stronger than my will. So I need to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to help me to not do what I don’t want to do. I can’t rely on my own strength – this is obvious – but I’ve got to rely on God each and every day to help me. In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates the scripture passage Romans 7:19-25 as this,
“I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will work towards being free from this control of sin.
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