I am like Peter.
The one who promises Jesus over and over again that I won’t do it. That I could never… that the sin tastes so bitter I’ll never want it again.
But then the rooster crows and I do it. More than three times, even. (Not like once isn’t enough.)
I could blame it on all the temptations of this world. I could try to justify it by remembering that I’m not such a bad person compared to the next guy. I could remind myself that God forgives it anyway, and I’m not hurting anyone, so what’s the big deal?
I am hurting myself, though. And more importantly, I’m hurting Him.
Sometimes I think it’s the hardest thing in the world to fight what comes naturally over doing what Jesus desires me to do. I know that He fights on my behalf (see the top video to your right), but I let myself get dragged down. And I have to say it – most of the time, I don’t try to fight back.
“Sin is fun,” my friend Angie once said. But I have to ask myself if this fun is better than what Jesus offers me. Common sense tells me that it’s not. Both my heart and my head tell me it’s not. So why is this struggle constant with me?
I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
-Romans 7: 14-24 (The Message)
Would I rather have the fun that’s become habit instead of the newness and discovery Christ offers me? I’ve fought my whole life, trying to understand that what Jesus gives me is better than what the world offers me. What will it take to get this through to my head and my heart? What can be done to overcome this sin that produces guilt and shame? What will it take for me to remember how much better Jesus is for me?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. –Romans 7:25 (The Message)