Read Romans 7:7-25
Somebody Save Me From Myself
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that
I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do… For the good that
I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that
I practice… O wretched man that I am! Who will
deliver me from this body of death?”
Going Deeper… Huh? Did you catch that? Paul had a convoluted way of saying something pretty straightforward, which was simply this: “I do what I shouldn’t and I don’t do what I should—man, am I in trouble!”
Can you relate to Paul? I sure can. He was in a wrestling match with sin, and sin was whupping up on him. It was frustrating because Paul knew what he shouldn’t be doing—yet he was drawn to sin like a mouse to a cheese-laden trap.
Let me ask you this: Where are you most vulnerable to temptation? What represents your cheese-laden mousetrap? Maybe it’s a box of Krispy Kremes—perhaps you are an overeater. Maybe it’s the letters S*A*L*E—perhaps you’re an overspender. Maybe it’s an adult site on the Internet—perhaps you’ve got a compulsion for porn. Could it be your compulsion is alchohol or drugs or gambling or gossiping or griping? Maybe it’s the joy of passing judgment on other cheese-eaters, which in reality, reveals your battle with a critical spirit.
Each of us has an area where we do what we shouldn’t and don’t do what we should. “What a sicko I am! Who will rescue me from the cheese?”
Jesus will! That’s what Paul said in Romans 7:25, “Thanks be to God—it’s through Jesus Christ our Lord!” When Jesus died, he broke the power of sin, so it no longer has a hold on us. Through the power of the resurrection, Paul says in I Corinthians 10:13 that God has provided a way out from under every temptation:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
Did you catch that? Your battle with temptation is winnable. The last part of the verse says, “But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out.”
That’s good news. There’s always an escape route—always. When you’re tempted, God himself will provide a way out; he will make a way. God has provided a door—but I must look for it and walk through it!
What are those escape routes?
One way of escape is to immerse yourself in Scripture. Psalm 119:9 & 11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
That’s how Jesus battled temptation in the wilderness. Every time the tempter came at him with something that would tear him away from his Father, Jesus came back at Satan with the truth of scripture. There is no more potent weapon against temptation in your life than in reading systematically, meditating daily, and memorizing strategically God’s Word.
Another escape route from temptation is to become accountable to another believer, especially for your particular weakness. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We need to bring our temptation into the light of accountability to other people—as difficult as that may be.
Proverbs 27:5-6 says, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” You would do yourself a huge favor by finding someone with whom you can be accountable for your weakness.
And yet another way out is to ask God to deliver you daily from the tempter. Jesus taught us to pray a daily prayer that acknowledges both our weakness and our need for divine power in this area: “Deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13) As simple as that sounds, the amazing thing is, God hears those prayers. And he provides a way out.
Who will rescue you from this body of death? Who is going to keep you out of the cheese?
“Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.”
“Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot
prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no
need that we should let them nest in our hair.”
This Week’s Assignment:
- Read Romans 7:1-25
- Memorize Romans 7:24-25, “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- Throughout Romans, it seems as if Paul has been pounding on the law. So was the law bad? Obviously not! So if the law is not bad, yet it doesn’t lead to true righteousness before God, what is its purpose then? Do a word search in Romans and Galatians (www.biblegateway.com is a good source), and read each context in which law is mentioned and see if you can come away with a better understanding of the purpose of the law that was revealed in Old Testament scripture.