Romans 7:14-25 (The Message)
14-16I can anticipate the response that is coming: "I know that all God's commands are spiritual, but I'm not. Isn't this also your experience?" Yes. I'm full of myself—after all, I've spent a long time in sin's prison. 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.
17-20But 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.
21-23It 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.
24I'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?
25The 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.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (New International Version)
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As we try to live the Christian life, it is difficult to throw off those pesky "sins" that seem to haunt us. We find ourselves entangled, ensnared, trapped, by those things we thought we left behind when we gave up our old lives. These things differ for every believer; not everyone is "miraculously" freed from everything we used to be hindered by as a non-believer. Let's face it...at one time we thought the things we did were okay. These things become a burden and hinder us from doing what we should for Christ.
When we become Christians we accept that Jesus has freed us by being the payment for sin that was required by God's law. Now that we have been rescued from them, it doesn't mean that it is easy to get away from the addictions to the sins we used to commit. All we know with our new life in Christ is that they are displeasing to the Father, and in gratitude to Him for what He has saved us from, we must try daily to shake off the bondage that we have become so accustomed to.