Real Life: The cycle of sin and life change

Do you find that life is cyclical? You do something you don’t want to do, you see how it effects you negatively, you make a commitment to behavior change and you start walking in a new way, then down the road something difficult happens, or you trip up, or you simply get tired of working and you go back to your old way.

Making life change is difficult and often messy and takes a lot of time. Paul writes about his struggle to live in a new way in Romans 7. When I was a kid I didn’t quite get what he was saying, “the things I do want to do,  I do not do, but the things I do not want to do, I do.” I think I got confused by his prolific usage of the word “do”.

But, now, I see it. I see not only the wisdom in what he was saying, but I see how I live in the same struggle. There is a good I want, usually it is a life change of sorts and there is a way I do not want to live. I find myself in cycle. I don’t like cycles. I like product! I like results. But we, you and I, need to remember as we walk in life there is only one true way out of the cycle and it may not come until the end. That is not hopeless, there is much hope in it. Take a look at the Romans passage I was talking about, as it was written for The Message paraphrase.

0But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

21-23It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

24I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

25The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Take a moment in your day to think about the various cycles you find your self in. How does this speak to you? Where do you see the conflict of sin and new life?

What helps you when you find yourself in a cycle again?

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