Daily D – Romans 7:21
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. ROMANS 7:21 (NLT)
I think I am going to get a Born Loser tattoo.
Scratch that. Having looked up some tattoo stylings, and some tragic misspellings, I think I will maintain my unvarnished canvas. Also, I really do not like needles.
Romans 7 is the Born to Lose chapter in the Bible. Verse 21 is the thesis statement. This is a text to which, if we are honest, we can all say, “Amen.”
My complaint with Rom. 7 is most Bible reading plans, like the one I am using this year, stop at the end of the chapter. I very nearly jumped ahead to chapter 8 this morning for a little relief. Reliving lots of painful memories in chapter 7 makes me long for the good news of chapter 8. Alas, I will have to wait until tomorrow to read one of my favorite transition verses in the Bible: “So there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus,” (8:1).
Okay, so I did read on after all. Wouldn’t you keep reading if you knew the bad news was about to turn to great news?
Romans 8 starts strong and ends stronger. Whereas chapters 6 and 7 make me want to take a shower and join a monastery, chapter 8 makes me want to tell everyone the good news that our right-intentioned, wrong-outcomes lifestyle is not the end of the story. Or as Cornelius Plantinga masterfully entitled his book, Not the Way it is Supposed to Be, leads on to John Ortberg’s The Life You Always Wanted.
Our sinful behaviors and habits do not have to define us. That one-time awful experience years ago, that ongoing struggle, as vile and hurtful as they may be, can be washed away. Restoration, renewal, healing—salvation—is possible. Unlike wanting to do the right thing and still doing the wrong thing, God’s grace never fails. When he welcomes us into his family, he does so with loving forgiveness and complete restoration. He empowers us with the strength we need to untie the knots of our past. He makes it possible to close our eyes without reliving life’s most painful moments.
The world we live in may make us feel like born losers, but God wants us to experience rebirth into the ultimate win. So, if I ever do get a tattoo, it will say re:Born Winner. However, since I really do not like needles, this is never going to happen. However, it is tattooed across on my heart. I may do the wrong thing when I want to do the right thing from time to time, but that outcome is no longer inevitable. This is because I have done the most right thing ever. I asked Jesus for his saving grace. That is a right intention that never leads to the wrong outcome.
I will trust Jesus for saving and maintaining grace.
Our Father, thank you for your saving grace. Thank you for grace to make good decisions and to experience better outcomes than we naturally create. Thank you that the Bible not only tells it like it is, but tells us how it can be, and will be, by your grace. Make us people fully immersed and characterized by your grace. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”