How different are we from the writer of Romans?
Today’s Scripture reading comes from Romans 7:21, quoting from the NASB:
“I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.”
Dig through the dirt, go deep, clear everything out of the way, find the root, grab it, clean it, and, with great care, replant the root. Transformation starts when we, in cooperation with God, strip away veneer and fully expose to God a heart in need of His cultivation. Having entrusted to God areas of vulnerabilities, put into place spiritual practices that will resist re introduction of the old nature.
How different are we from the writer of Romans? Paul stated so eloquently the dual nature of the fleshly struggle: But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Transformation starts with God, and with no less power will the influence of the flesh be defeated.
Recently, a guy shared with me that he and his wife experienced spiritual milestones on the same day. He rededicated his life to Christ, and she participated in believer’s baptism. What a delight it was for the two of them! He said that now people ask, “Why do you attend two Bible studies during the week, in addition to attending worship services on Sunday?” His response displays credit to the work of transformation taking place in his life. He states earnestly, “I need to. It keeps me from returning to bad habits, and besides,” he added, “all I would otherwise be doing is watching TV.”
How do we overcome the dueling natures, the struggle of the flesh to do evil and of the mind that knows to obey the commands of God? We clear away the debris and cultivate in our heart the mind of Christ.
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor. Consider these leadership challenges as indications that transformation is occurring:
- First, tightness in the chest is replaced by soft responses. “A gentle answer turns away wrath…”
- Second, disagreements are toned down and extending grace becomes an easier alternative. “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
- Third, blaming others for our personal shortcomings is replaced with ownership and responsibility for personal spiritual growth. “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.”