Sometimes we feel like we are the only person dealing with a particular struggle. We can feel like everyone else has it all together. But the reality is that no temptation overtakes us except that which is common to mankind. We are in essence all in the same boat. No person is righteous on his/her own.
Even the great heroes of the Bible, have moments they wish we would forget about. The Apostle Paul was certainly a star on God’s All Star team. If it had not been for Paul, the Christian Gospel may have never been carried to the Gentile world. Paul suffered many physical afflictions and personal challenges to spread the Gospel. He did many wonderful miracles in Jesus’ name. But he still struggled with temptation and sin.
Paul was a man just like the rest of us. We can see a glimpse of this in this modern paraphrase of a classic Scripture text from Romans.
Romans 7:17-25 (Message)
But 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.
It 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.
I’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?
The 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.