Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.”
Verses 21-23 Paul summarizes what he has been saying. He finds this principle at work: When I want to do good, sin is there to trip him up. This happened so often it was predictable. The principle Paul discovered is the reality of ever-present evil in an individual whenever he wants to do good. It’s is waging war against my mind!
This basic conflict is nowhere better expressed than in Gal 5:17–18: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (cf. Jas 4:1; 1 Pet 2:11).
Despite how well a person may want to follow the law of God, have Christ-honoring attitudes and actions, he cannot in his own power resist his indwelling sin nature. In and of himself he repeatedly experiences defeat and frustration.
So what are we to do? Stop trying to earn God’s favor by our own actions. As Paul has been pointing out—our actions fall short in themselves. Jesus is our only Hope. His Holy Spirit living in us makes the difference. We must turn to God for our deliverance—he alone is capable of rescuing us. Once we’ve turned to Him, then we stand firm in Christ!
Look back to what Paul has been telling us—because of our new nature in Christ we’re dead to sin and alive in Christ, we’re now slaves to righteousness and have been released from the law and are now bound to Christ. Remember that, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Since we’re in a battle—a real conflict with dyer consequences—it’s imperative that we use the resources God has given us to use: His Word; His Holy Spirit; His People—life in community. And by the power of His Spirit we live our lives to bear fruit for God!
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest.