For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. Romans 7:18-19
Meanwhile back at the ranch… I’m going to confirm what Paul laments about here. I am capable of incredible goodness, yet there’s a tripwire out there somewhere that I can’t see that can put me almost immediately into sin.
The propensity to screw up is never factored in but pops up all the time. It’s maddening because you were on a roll up to that point. I find my mouth is the usual suspect. Then there’s that normally sedated anger of mine that was conquered long ago. You think, where did that come from? And from here to eternity, there’s those pesky lusts of the flesh!
As one matures you’re hoping to be perfect in Christ, but that’s not the case. While the majors may not be happening anymore, the minor sins seem way more acute. I’m better than that, I say, and I probably am. But I’ll never get there this side of eternity.
That’s exactly why Paul of all people appears tormented. He wants to do right, but try as he might he can’t! So it is with all of us.
Seeing this wretched state in which we reside, so valuable are God’s mercy and grace, and the boldness we have to enter his throne room to make things right! (Ephesians 3:12) If this process is like breathing it won’t take much to get back on the right plane. You may have to apologize to the dog, but you’ll have yet again righted the ship.
Paul’s reality check is a helpful yet painful reminder of the war that rages within. Yet “greater is he who’s within me than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)