The Transforming Power of God.
Read Romans 7:14-25
“Who can deliver me from the body of this death”
In times such as these, it is easy to put on a face of confidence and assurance that everything will turn out alright. But often such outward displays mask the inward anxiety and distress we are experiencing. It is easy to change the outward appearance, but it is far more difficult to change our inward heart condition.
Paul understood the challenge we face. After expounding of the greatness of God’s redemptive work in history in the first 6 chapters of Romans, Paul brings it home to himself and carefully and honestly assesses his own heart condition. What he finds disturbs him and leaves him with a sense of helplessness. Having seen the effects and control of sin in his own he life, he concludes with an honest assessment, one that we easily resonate with, “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” He concludes “For the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” (vs 18). In our times of fear, anxiety and apprehension, how do we change our inner thoughts, emotions and attitudes? We desire to do what is right, but often we do the very thing we regret and despise in others. During times of stress, we want to be cheerful and encouraging to our family but find ourselves responding with anger and frustration. In times of uncertainty we want to be trusting in God’s provision and resting in his promises, but struggle with doubt and apprehension. We resonate with Paul when he cries out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (verse 25)
But Paul does not leave us hanging in the frustration of our own weaknesses. He provides the answer. “Thanks be to God through Christ Jesus our Lord!” In the subsequent chapter (chapter 8) he sets forth one of the greatest songs of God’s victory and love which gives us confidence in the most difficult of times. For Paul the answer to his inward battles is not found in himself, but in the redemptive power of Christ. In these difficult days we are reminded of our inability to truly change not just our circumstances, but also the impossibility of changing our inward struggle with our attitudes and actions. But the power of God is greater. When we stop trying to save or change ourselves and learn to surrender to God’s work, we find true freedom and victory, not only from our fears, but from our struggles with inward attitudes and outward actions. Only when we trust in God and seek his help do we find true victory over sin. When you find yourself apprehensive because of the circumstances and responding wrongly to others, ask God to give you the strength to truly be changed. He is powerful enough to do the one think that is most difficult for us to do: change ourselves.