Same Old, Same Old

Monday, September 23, 2019
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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.

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About the author:

John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, John.

    Thank you, John, for writing clearly about our sin problem.

    Yup. If anyone thinks he stand, let him take heed lest he fall!

    Thank you, John, for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.

    Hi John, thank you for this thought-provoking devotional on sin. It really resonated with me!

    Another excellent devotional, John. If you aren’t a preacher, I believe you could have been. You really have a way of explaining things that are easily understood.

    Hi John
    Thanks, and this is such a right now kind of thing that we all deal with. Thanks for encouragement and scriptures.
    God bless.

    Hello John,
    Thank you for another very important and poignant devotional. The scripture Psalm 79:9 that was listed today needs to be our Mantra.
    Blessings to you.

    Thank you for this John. It always amazes me that something I KNOW seems to be known only for a short time, and then guilt sets in again, which is what you are saying, I think. It’s actually comforting to know that I’m not alone (again just what you are saying). The best part, of course, is that we have His help … if only we would remember to “call on His name” and keep up the struggle. Bless you for the insights you share. God bless.

    Dear John Stuart,
    When I, just now, read your beginning verse, and down a paragraph or two into Romans, chapter 8, I found:
    “… through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and of death. for what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so, he condemned sin in sinful man in order that …. ”
    ___ on to victory for us. Praise God.
    Keep writing.

    Sir: Thank you for sharing this devotional. Over the years I have read many of your writings — and have enjoyed them all. So, I encourage you to continue writing. A point I have wrestled with, in conjunction with today’s reading, is that of God continuing to bless one — even after the repeated sin. I am not looking for absolution in regard to the sin, i.e., God saying, “Hey, don’t worry about it — keep right on doing it!” Rather, I recognize the sin and ask forgiveness as Paul did, but I slide back to that sin again, as Paul did — only to again sin, recognize the sin and ask the Lord’s forgiveness — and strength NOT to sin. What do I do now? Might be an interesting topic to address in one of your devotions to help us.

    Nice to hear from you John.
    As always thought provoking, right on target.

    I’m praying for all who suffer from relapse — for their dependence and moment by moment reliance upon Jesus Christ’s power and grace to uphold.
    Thanks for writing.

    Hi John, in verses 24 and 25 of the same chapter the apostle Paul shares his solution to his problem. But we will always have to fight the good fight of faith with the armor God provides that Paul also shares in his letter to the Ephesians chapter 6:10 onward. Thanks for identifying with all God’s children.

    Dear John,
    Thank you in particular for these wise words but also all of your wise words.

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