Scripture Reading: Romans 7:14-25, Galatians 5:16-26, 1 John 1:8-10
Sure, I was terrible. But it was the fruit flies’ fault.
I’d been at war with them all week, using every trick Google assured me would work. Bowl of vinegar mixed with dish soap? Done. A trap made of fruit and plastic wrap? Yep. Pour diluted bleach down the drain and hope for the best? Affirmative.
I’d done all the entire internet knew to do, to no avail. The fruit flies were multiplying, not disappearing, and I was over it.
I was trying to cook dinner, plotting against the irritating insects in the interim as the pasta boiled and the sauce simmered. I was annoyed—and not just at the state of my kitchen, but at what seemed to be the state of my life. Why couldn’t I just get it all under control already?
That’s when David walked in.
I married a good man. He is kind and gracious and funny. And when he walked in the door during my fruit-fly and general-life crisis, I did what any human being would do: I let him have it.
I was as passive-aggressive as I knew how to be and then some. I started slyly with some innocent questions, and then I went in for the kill, attacking his actions and decisions and, in the end, his character. It was awful. I was awful.
Here is what I cannot for the life of me understand: I had no desire to treat my husband with such unkindness and disrespect. I did not stand there in my kitchen, stirring that spaghetti sauce and thinking, When he gets home, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind. Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought that about him.
I love David. And I love how he loves me. I want nothing but the absolute best for him. But my best intentions were not calling the shots that night. My humanity was.
I’m so grateful for this passage in Romans 7. I’m grateful that God not only knows us fully, but He reassures us of this in His Word. I’m grateful for Paul’s confession that so clearly articulates the struggle I feel in my own heart on a daily basis.
I don’t want to sin. Really, I don’t. But I do it anyway.
I want to obey the Lord. Really, I do. But I disobey anyway.
Paul’s description of his own sin struggle in Romans 7:14-25 can seem confusing at first read. But read it again, slowly this time. Read it aloud. Do you hear the desperation? Paul, like me (and like you?), does not want to sin. But in and of himself—in his “flesh”—he does not have the ability to be sinless. And he seems pretty frustrated about this. I am, too. Aren’t you?
Sin is a disease we are born with but cannot heal. Sin is a slavery we are born into but cannot escape (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
Sin is a condition we cannot fix. But Jesus can. He has.
The message of the gospel of Jesus—the gospel that causes Paul to cry, mid-frustration, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (v.25)—is that Jesus has rescued us from “this body of death” (v.24). We are more than just our weak-willed bodies; we are souls who have been redeemed by the sinless life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Yes, we struggle with sin. We struggle to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), to choose a moment-by-moment life guided by the Spirit of the Lord rather than our selfish desires. But we do not struggle in vain. Our struggle is a fight—a fight to live in the freedom that has already been secured by the Savior who defeated darkness once for all (1 Corinthians 15:55-57).
Thanks be to God, for He invites us into a life governed not by our wants or our whims, but by His truth and love.