As someone who is trending towards 40, I realize there is still some time to grow up. I am not a lost cause. However, the longer I teach middle school, the further delayed my coming of age may be. I still laugh at a lot of immature things. Body noises. People falling. General potty humor. But nothing quite gets me like a “do do.” I remember sitting in an interview for an open position at my school, intently listening, taking notes, giving confirming head nods, and then out of nowhere came “do do.” “I am very aware that I do do…” Every muscle in my body clinched to remain professional. I hid my smile with my hand, furrowed my brow, and increased the quantity of affirming head shakes. I was no longer listening, only trying to hide the fight going on within.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. Romans 7:15-18
In a similar way, Paul makes it clear in Romans 7 that our body and mind aren’t always on the same page. In our innermost being, we desire the things of God. We desire to be holy. We desire to know His will for our life. We want to ponder, study, and worship. Unfortunately, what we desire and how we act follow different paths. We don’t do the things of God, but we “do do” the things that grasp for the attention of our immature faith, paving our way to fiery judgment with good intentions.
So why are we like this? We are not slaves of sin, but we are very much subject to the circumstance and condition we find ourselves, living in this present evil age. We are sinners, living amongst other sinners, in a sinful world; it’s what comes to us naturally. If we try to fight the battle alone, no matter how valiantly we fight or resiliently we hold the line, we will ultimately crash and burn. It takes the man, Christ Jesus, who fought against sin and came out victorious bringing death to its knees. We must ask and allow him to intercede and succeed in all areas of our lives, but especially in the places we leave ourselves vulnerable. He must be Lord of our screens, and our pride, and our money, and our idols, and our drinks, and of all our vices.
Bind yourself to Him. Cling to the cross of our Savior. Until Jesus returns, temptation will surround us, but praise be to our Heavenly Father, it is Christ who lives within us. Don’t do it any other way. Do do what he says. Bear your cross, increase Christ, and cultivate a mature faith. In turn we will have actions that match the greatest ponderings, pinings, and pursuits of the heart that is completely submitted to God.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Choose one area of your life in which you know what you want to do in order to be pleasing to God, but you (often) find you do something else instead. How can you bump up your fight against this temptation? How can you make Jesus the Lord of even this area of your life?
- Reading through Romans 7, what verse would be a good one for you to post in a significant location and work on memorizing to bring to mind when faced with what you will do – and not do?