The Good I Want to Do

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 7:14-25, Galatians 5:16-26, 1 John 1:8-10

BY Amanda Bible Williams

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.

Post Comments (115)

115 thoughts on "The Good I Want to Do"

  1. Andrea Martin says:

    I do what I do not want to do and struggle to do what is right and best. I worry how the world will judge my actions. And yet I know the world is not who I should be worried about impressing or making happy. God alone. Desperate for you Jesus.

  2. Gemma Bywater says:

    It’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the “already but not yet” aspect of this promise. Christ has already set us free from these things, yet we still wage war against them and struggle with these sins daily, not wanting to sin, but sinning none-the-less. I can’t help but think of my toddler, although he wants to please me and I think acts out to get my attention, I have to watch him constantly, and being consistent with discipline is taking up the majority of my days right now but that’s what God is doing with me too, it’s all a part of sanctification and the more we learn to “walk in the spirit” the more we will mature and become who we are meant to be in Christ. Our human nature is like a toddler, just so impulse driven. “I want that so I’m going to get that.” Forgetting what we’ve been told not to do or why we’re not supposed to the moment a temptation arises. I hope and pray that God will grow my awareness of His presence so I can live in light of that, as well as my desire to to please and obey Him so I’m not so busy trying to see what I can get away with that I miss out on all the time I could be spending with him, and growing into the maturity to move on from the pruning and disciplining to do His will more and more.

  3. Monica Sheppard says:

    I love the passage Romans 7:14-25. I can deeply relate to it. One of my favorite parts in is “For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.” -Romans 7:22-23.

  4. Steph C says:

    For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do” (7:18-19). Who will deliver us? Jesus Christ! He has bought me and freed me. I no longer have to give in to sin. I have the ability to choose to obey. Before salvation I was bound by sin and incapable of obedience or change. Now, by God’s grace, I can submit to Him. It has to be a moment by moment thing. Not a “one and done”. Because I still know how to sin. It’s still the “natural” bent of my heart. But God. He calls me back. Over and over. And He helps me learn obedience and surrender.

  5. Jenneh Bockari says:

    I desperately needed to read this today. I feel like every day I’m trying and failing, but forgetting that without Jesus, I am destined for failure. Inciting him into my efforts is the only way to live a spirit led life.

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