“For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that I do not;
But what I hate, that do I.” Romans 7:15 (KJV)
How do we get from a battle we cannot win, to a battle we cannot lose?
A little more clarity comes with the New King James Version:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
But what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:15
One of the most perplexing chapters in the Bible is Romans 7. You have to read it very slowly, you have to read it reflectively. You have to read it responsively. Repenting at the end of nearly every verse. It is that convicting. You have to read it with gratitude to Jesus, because He truly is your only hope.
Believers have a type of split personality. The Bible calls it out as a struggle between two natures. The “old man” and the “new man.” (Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:10) One part that is corrupt, dying daily and one part that being made new and is alive forever.
The term “born again” describes it perfectly. Our first birth, by flesh and blood, our second, by the Holy Spirit. Our first birth, biological, our second, spiritual. Our first birth, on a journey that ends with the grave, our second, everlasting, from the first moment we trust Christ as our Savior. (John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:23)
Romans 7 describes the time between the second birth and when we leave this fleshly existence and enter the eternal, when we are glorified. (Romans 8:20) Everyday, after day, is a step in the process. A struggle between the old and new you. One nature that can be tempted and tried by the enemy, Satan, and a nature redeemed by a Savior that gave His life for you. Jesus.
We might ask, and I do often, why we have to battle this when Jesus has already won it for us. The only answer is found in faith that God knows the struggle is good for us and produces good in us. This struggle in my life forces me to trust Him, to seek His help and find the only peace and joy that truly satisfies my soul. The answer is found in our focus. What do we seek and set our affections on? (Colossians 3:1-3) We can be too short sighted. What we want right now becomes more important that what we would hope to become on the other side of the struggle.
Because of Jesus, not me, I am not condemned, no matter what. Even though I am flesh, I am also born after His Spirit and am free from the law that, even though it is good and points out my sin, could never save me from it. Only Jesus can, and has and does forever. (Romans 8:1-3)
Claim this today. When you step over your restrictions and guilt comes. Claim this today when you know you thought wrong thoughts, said wrong things, ate too much, spent too much, worried too much, complained too much. Claim this when you find it hard to love or serve someone. Walk on, dear one. In the Spirit.