I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:21-25 (NLT)
Comedian Jim Carrey’s portrayal of a man who finds a way to get whatever he wants is the subject of a 1994 slapstick movie, “The Mask”. By putting on a magical mask Carrey becomes so powerful he achieves whatever he wishes. At one point the wear and tear of all that “getting” is unwittingly revealed as Carrey looks straight at the audience and, with an evil smile, expresses the deepest human emotion, somebody stop me!
The apostle Paul discovered this centuries before Jim Carrey’s character; it is one of the most unsettling, but universal issues of species human – we have a will that is indomitable…even by ourselves. Our human condition demands both worship and to be worshiped. We want what we want, when we want it, and at the same time want someone to stop us.
Want proof? If you’ve ever tried to break a habit, you have all the proof you need. Consider the obvious ones:
· Drugs; both hated and craved.
· Smoking; both loved and loathed.
· Food; let’s not get personal here! (See what I mean?)
Paul says it’s like a war going on inside me; I want to do the good that I’ve been created for – that which I know corresponds to the image of my Creator, God. Yet, the evil that is within asserts itself and I do the very things I despise.
In summary, Paul says the trouble isn’t with the way God created me; it’s my will, my stubborn desire to have it all.
So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. Romans 7:14 (NLT)
All too human…that’s us.
But Paul doesn’t leave us hanging; he says there’s a cure for this stubbornness.
Jesus Christ paid the penalty for my willfulness. The cross of Calvary was enough, and I can be made whole…restored…redeemed.
I can be put back in the condition of being able to say “no” to the desires that crave what is not good for me, and “yes” to the God who would overwhelm me with everything that is perfect for me.
For You Today
What’s weighing you down?
To what do you have trouble saying “no”? Have you ever thought, somebody stop me?
He will, if you ask.
But, be ready to be stopped; He responds when we’re ready to let go!