Don’t you hate it when something gets quickly summed up – and it’s just not good?! Me, too. But sometimes, that’s the only way to get back on track and move forward.
Take, for example, when Paul goes right for the jugular: “The law is perfect and good. You are not perfect and good. You’ve been sold out to the dark side!” (Rom.7:14) OH NO!!
Who sold you out? Then comes the terrible realization: You did! And now your existence is constant tension – wanting to do what is right, but constantly not! Desiring to do good, but doing bad. You feel miserable and frustrated as this tension mounts inside and time stacks up in years. “What a wretched person I am!” SOMEBODY HELP! (Rom.7:24)
We are talking about a believer here, not a non-Christian. But this believer feels trapped. Imprisoned. If you are this person, and if you are willing to follow a simple action plan, you’ll discover a secret to change things.
THE ACTION PLAN:
- Pause – slow down so you can think and pray.
- Listen – be attentive to God. He has a still small voice (usually doesn’t yell). Be quiet with a teachable heart to hear Him.
- Admit – Humble yourself. Sincerely. Call it what it really is. “I am still tricking myself. Making the wrong choices. Because I think I still have an option to sin, I keep messing up. After all, Jesus will forgive me, right?”
- Accept Truth. Be hard on yourself in the right way, and accept reality. Then you will be able to do the next, very hard part – decide critical things:
- Do I really love Jesus? Do I carry out His wishes over my own? Is my goal to serve Him entirely? Do I love Him more than my own life, or is my heart divided?
- Do I realize when I trusted Jesus to forgive my sins and give me eternal life, I was also asking Him to restore me to His original plan? – Created by God, for God, belonging to God. That makes Him my Master.
- Sin was not part of God’s plan. Jesus broke sin’s power at the cross. My excuse that I still have an option to sin is not true! Here’s why: since my sinful nature died with Christ on the cross (accept by faith), and since my original nature rose with Christ from the grave (accept by faith), I must now consider myself dead to sin BECAUSE SIN IS TECHNICALLY DEAD! If I don’t, I’m choosing to live in a “make-believe world.” It’s no longer reality. Jesus changed everything. I must think differently. This will take:
- TIME to retrain my mind.
- PRACTICE, and I will likely mess up along the way.
- TRANSFORMATION. Resolve – I will not stop until this process becomes my reality (since this reality will last forever). Transformation takes place by renewing your mind. (Rom. 12:2)
When sin is dead, it has no power over you. You still live in a sin-filled world. Yet, you are “perfect by faith” in Jesus. You may still fail. However, you resolve to practice. No more excuses.
Salvation is free. The BIG TRANSFER – your sins onto Christ and His righteousness onto you – is free to you. It was not free to Jesus. It cost Him all He had – His very life!
Discipleship is NOT free. It costs all you have – your very life! Becoming like Jesus is now your work. (Phil. 2:12c) This work should consume you. You owe Jesus a debt of love. If you do not see this, then you don’t really understand salvation. You don’t really “get” what Jesus did and what it means to trust Him. You continue to fail because you still think sin is an option. You don’t yet consider yourself dead to sin.
When you commit to this action plan, I mean really commit to it (aligning every thought, attitude, word, and deed), you still may fail on occasion. But that will diminish. If you sin, confess it, and ask forgiveness. There is provision for that. Then get right back to working out your salvation.
There is no provision for perpetual, purposeful sin!
Article developed from Romans 7:14-25.
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