Have you ever been on a diet? Honestly, I don’t know a single adult who hasn’t been on at least one in their lifetime. Low fat, low carb, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, calorie counter apps…the need for help when trying to lose weight has fueled a multi-billion dollar industry. Why is losing weight so hard?
Because we can’t say no.
We can’t say no to the things we eat that are inherently bad for us. Consider this: the fast food industry is also a multi-billion dollar industry. With all its salt, fat, and calories, fast food is consumed in high enough quantities to fuel the need for the weight loss industry. We can fall into an endless cycle of lose-gain-lose-gain when we can’t break free of our attraction and addiction to the unhealthy things that we put in our mouths.
Add to that our sedentary lifestyles and you have a situation where we keep sabotaging our best intentions. We need help!
Paul gets us. He wrestled constantly with the temptation to sin, or as he put it, “doing things I absolutely despise.” Sound familiar?
Romans 7 (The Message)
15 What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
Do you ever feel that way? Like you can’t be trusted around ice cream or cheeseburgers? Or you can’t stop yourself from saying that harsh word to your spouse, or gossiping about your neighbor? We need something more.
17-20 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.
“I can will it, but I can’t do it.” Notice how many times Paul asks for help.
21-23 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.
What part of you covertly rebels against making good choices? Where does sin take over and leave you helpless? It can happen in the things you say, in the way you treat other people, in the thoughts you have, and in the things you do. Do your actions betray your convictions to be a godly person?
24 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?
Are you ready for the answer?
25 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.
Sin is powerful and pulls with the force of a moon tide. But Jesus offers us a lifeline. When we cry to him for help, he steps in to save us.
Jesus’ actions on our behalf were intended to rescue us from the power of sin. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Grab ahold of his lifeline when sin comes after you. Jesus is our rescuer.