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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature . . ."—Romans 7:18 (NLT)
Have you ever felt like Paul here in Romans 7? I know I have. In fact, I pretty much feel this way at least once per day. Sometimes it takes a while before I get there. Some mornings, like today, I felt this way within an hour of being awake, as I got impatient and angry on my drive to work.
Regardless of when I’m overcome by this feeling, the point is that, like Paul, “I know that nothing good lives in me.” I have a lot more Mr. Hyde in me than Dr. Jekyll. I am fully aware that there is a monster within me, one that wants nothing more than to rear its ugly head as often as possible. And the worst part about it is that, in every way, I am powerless against it.
Consider what the apostle is saying here: “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 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 7:18-19 NLT, emphasis added). Over and over again, the most prominent figure in the New Testament (other than Jesus), the great apostle, admits to being powerless against his own sinful nature. He wants to do the will of God, he wants to walk in Christ’s steps, he wants to live like Jesus, but he constantly falls short!
This is a man who was “caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell” (2 Corinthians 12:4 NIV). If he can’t overcome his sin nature, who can? Even when we set out, intentionally and purposefully, to accomplish something “for the Lord,” we tend to fail (John 13:37–38) when we rely on ourselves and our strength.
And therein lies the solution. Paul said, “Nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.” And he’s right, because the solution isn’t found in me. That’s because the sinful nature is in me, the solution is found in the One who “will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death . . . The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24b–25 NLT).
Apart from Christ, all I am is sinful. But when Christ dwells inside of me, I can die to myself, because “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 NIV). As we grow, I pray we can more frequently die to self and let Christ live through us!
DIG: Read Romans 7.
DISCOVER: How often do you feel the weight of your sinful nature?
DISPLAY: Spend time in prayer, declaring yourself dead today, crucified with Christ, asking the Lord to live through you—to act, speak, and work on your behalf and to not give the sinful nature even a foothold in your day.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.