Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hail Thou Once Despised Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 7:19 – For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. (NIV 2011)
Let's be honest: we all struggle with sin. All of us have a selfish habit or shameful secret in our lives. We try to deal with it and often come to God asking for forgiveness, understanding, and support. We look for His grace to allow us to start again. We seek His mercy to blot out our mistakes. Things go well for a while, but then, we fall into the same old ways and sin again. It's a recurring pattern and one that possibly frustrates us because we have failed to live up to our promises to God.
When I read today's Bible verse, it made me realize that the great apostle Paul struggled with sin and selfishness, too. He even confessed it to the young Roman church with a degree of transparency that was risky. By admitting that he kept doing the wrong things, Paul was opening himself up to ridicule and shame. At the same time, however, he was offering himself as a prime example of an imperfect sinner in need of God's grace, a fallen follower who required Christ's help just like anyone else.
In a strange way, this personally gives me hope, because an amazing leader like Paul can understand my struggle with sin, as well as the sins that we are all struggling with each day.
In the end, Paul comes to God again and expresses his gratefulness for being permitted to confess his fault in order to receive grace. As he enthusiastically writes a few verses later, "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25a NIV 2011)
Points to ponder: What personal sin am I frequently and currently struggling with? Am I willing to confess my fault sincerely before God? Am I thankful for Christ's grace?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all make mistakes and fall short of Your expectations. We all struggle with personal sins and reject opportunities to be and to do good. Forgive our failures, and help us to overcome our faults. In Your holy name, we humbly pray. Amen.