Is It Really That Confusing?
Posted on January 29, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“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 7:19 (NLT)
One of the little-known facts about me, when it comes to ministry, is that I spend my Friday nights at a for-profit Drug/Substance rehabilitation center. I had been assigned to this very same facility after one of my infamous DWI’s way back in the early ’90s and now I go as a representative of Addictions Victorious. I’ve been serving AV for about 10+ years now and I gotta say what I do as a facilitator, all though its a challenge, has been a great joy being a part of. This particular get together, which started back in July of 2019, has been a real blessing to me. It’s a combination of the Great Commission and the 12th step of AA/NA with a whole lotta emphasis on the Gospel message. Basically, I’m preaching that Jesus Christ Saves…period!
Now, mind you, this doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and rainbows, on the contrary, there are moments where just saying that Jesus saved me has drawn the ire of those in attendance. I also heard it commented that all this Jesus stuff isn’t all that binary?? If anyone knows what that means please contact me because it left me sorta clueless. Anyway…for the most part there are folks who wanna get to understand that “Higher Power” stuff and I’m glad to help out with that. Especially when it’s shared that they wanna do the right things but end making bad choices. I tell them this is where we meet the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 7:14-21.
I think Paul thought he had it all together before his “Road to Damascus” experience and I share with the folks on Friday night that’s kinda like how all bad behaviors start. In our former selves, we see what we’re doing as okay and that some of us, as Paul did, get way beyond zealous doing it. The lie of addiction is that what we are doing will either take us away from our problems and make us feel better about them or take them completely away, even if that means damaging others in the process. Paul, as Saul the wacky Pharisee, got himself so entangled with the Law that it didn’t make him of any earthly benefit. He hunted down people of The Way and turned God’s grace and mercy into punishment.
When we come to the end of ourselves and have that same “Road to Damascus” experience, we see ourselves in a way different light. When you look at how Paul starts off the Romans 7 cycle, “So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin” (Romans 7:14), he could have just ended with that and it would have been all good. Or would it? Well, not really, because if you don’t take the whole stroll with this passage of Scripture, you’ll never get to, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24) We gotta take the entirety of our depravity and rest it squarely on this… “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So, you see how it is: In my mind, I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.” (Romans 7:25)
Once we all get to this understanding ya gotta ask, is it really that confusing? I guess the bigger question is do you have to get there right away? That’s the vexing part because some habits are just so hard to crack its gonna take time and we all need to realize that the Christian life isn’t instant pudding. It’s not as simple as taking the box, opening it up, adding milk, stirring it up and waiting five minutes for it to be ready for us. This stuff is better simmered over the stove at a low heat so it all can come together better and then waiting to see what the Lord is gonna do in your life with it.
I never really thought about until I started going to this facility but the road to sobriety for these guys is much the process of sanctification to the Christian. Sometimes I have to share with them that the Potter will break the vessel because there’s a defect in it and its He who wants the vessel everything it can be. But it’s okay because the Potter knows what He is doing even if we don’t. So, it’s okay to wrestle as Paul does in Romans 7:14-21 so long as we can come to this very conclusion, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “To progress is always to begin always to begin again” — Martin Luther
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. -Joshua 1:8
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.