Romans 7: 18-19:
“18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 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.”
Our passage of scripture today describes the conundrum that all of us live in; we do not do want we want to do, and what we don’t want to do, we end up doing it. If you have read my book “Created - Designed By God,” you probably already understand who we are, how our personalities are formed in utero, and that many of the driving forces behind our actions are not even caused by our own making. Knowing where our behaviors stem from and why we are drawn to them helps explain all this, not doing what we want and doing what we don’t want.
I probably don’t need to explain this to you, but our lives are an absolute mess and in need of significant change. But, regardless of our backgrounds, the significance of our needs, or even our personal experiences, before we can even dream of finding the abundant life that Christ has promised us, we have to take the first step.
For those familiar with the 12-steps, you should already know that the First Step is; To admit that we are powerless over our addictions, dysfunctional-behaviors and that our lives are unmanageable. We will be applying and using the 12-steps throughout this devotional. These steps are vital in helping us know how to surrender to God and allow Him to make the nectary changes we need. You do not have to be an addict to apply these steps to your life. However, all of us, those with addictive personalities and those who simply struggle to serve the Lord faithfully, should have no problem admitting that we need God’s help to transform our lives. If you struggle with addiction, I want to encourage you that although this devotion is not specifically geared to overcoming substance abuse, the lessons within are just as applicable.
Our passage today identifies Paul’s inability as well as our inability to make any lasting change. Being born into sin, having our very formation in the womb affected by sin, and being impacted by those generational curses passed down to us by our forefathers is why we have failed to find the change we desperately need. All of this may make you feel hopeless like there is nothing you can do to improve your life and find the peace you desire. If so, then that is a good thing. This is the purpose of the First Step. To admit you are powerless and to recognize that you are incapable of delivering yourself and changing the direction of your life.
We want to identify the driving forces behind our personalities and behaviors for today’s lessons. Identifying why we do what we do will only help us solidify our need for God to intervene on our behalf Divinely. Recognizing that many of the life-crippling character traits we fight against are not even our responsibility should allow us to forgive ourselves. This forgiveness, in turn, should free us to run to the One who can and will change the very makeup of who we are.