“I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7:19
Those who keep track of such things tell us that eighty percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them. In fact, most don’t even manage to keep them for thirty days.
Not one of us makes a resolution to make good changes in our lives or establish healthy new habits with the intention of failing. On January 1st we boldly set about doing the one thing we know will benefit us only to find we simply don’t have the strength or will to see it through.
It seems we’re in good company. In the above verse Paul, one of the greatest figures of the apostolic age, grieves over his inability to do the good he yearns to do. The man who wrote thirteen books of the New Testament struggled too.
Of course Paul didn’t leave us wallowing in our failures. He went on to assure us that we don’t have to operate under our own power. Those who are in Christ Jesus have His Spirit dwelling within them to help them in their weakness. We don’t have to do it alone.
It’s a glorious truth, but let’s talk about what can happen when, in spite of God’s promise to be our strength, we move ahead without Him. After all, some things just aren’t that big a deal. We don’t need to bother God with every little thing. So we decide to go it on our own - and fail.
Then comes the part that delights the enemy of our souls - the destructive process of self-condemnation. We give hurtful names to our failure and label ourselves as worthless. We convince ourselves that God couldn’t possibly love someone who does nothing but fail over and over again. The gap we’ve created between our hearts and His widens as He stands there offering us everything we could ever possibly want or need.
Hear His heart:
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8: 1,2
Jesus came to set us free from the very thing we seem so bent on doing to ourselves. He doesn’t condemn. He by comes to walk beside us and dwell within us, to give us the strength and grace to do the things we deeply desire to do. He is for us, and when we fail He is there to help us up.
You are the beloved of the Lord.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us His children, and that is what we are!” I John 3:1a