“For I have the desire to what is right but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18)
Paul eloquently demonstrates in Romans 7 the struggle so many of us feel as we walk with God. We want to do what is right, but keep making the same mistakes.
Disobedience is not in our hearts, but it keeps rearing its ugly head in our lifestyle.
In Verse 24, he hits the ultimate expression of frustration exclaiming, “Wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Our “wanter” is broken
We don’t live consistently with that which we genuinely desire to do.
Change is not something we get out of a machine or through an app on our phones.
So What do we do? We usually go to one of two extremes.
We either embrace the “Try harder, pull up your bootstraps, pray and fast” mentality.
Or we give up, doing nothing. We express our frustration and weariness in a fatalistic way saying, “I will never change.”
Somewhere in between these expression lies a heathy response. A few things which can help us are:
Accountability and Boundaries. Get involved with others. We were created for relationship, not to go it alone.
Remove yourself from the struggle. If it is alcohol, get out of the bar. If it is women, watch the business trips and boredom times.
Confess need and brokeness regularly. Andy Stanley recently offered a simple prayer for his church goers to pray each day. “I can’t, You Can, Please Help me”
In this is a declaration of our brokeness, our need for God to walk with us, and acknowledgement that he is the source of all growth and change.
Paul himself settled on this. Look at his conclusion right after asking where rescue comes from.
Who will deliver me? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:25)
John Townsend and Henry Cloud express this sentiment in their benchmark book on growth, How People Grow
“Grace is only effective when we understand our need for it. The Law does not help people change, but it does provide awareness of spiritual death and our need for grace. People must come to the place where they say, “I cannot do it.”
We must act on the wisdom God gives us. This appears Biblically, from others, and those ideas he drops in our hearts.
Simply wanting to change is not enough.
We must Trust the One who rescued us.
We Depend on Him moment by moment.
We Rely on Him to Strengthen us as we Walk WITH Him.
Little by little, slowly, over time; we can see growth and change as we partner on the day-in and day-out journey with God.
photo credit: David Lee King via photopin cc