Romans 7:21-25 (New International Reader's Version)
21 Here is the law I find working in me. When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 Deep inside me I find joy in God's law. 23 But I see another law working in the parts of my body. It fights against the law of my mind. It makes me a prisoner of the law of sin. That law controls the parts of my body.
24 What a terrible failure I am! Who will save me from this sin that brings death to my body? 25 I give thanks to God. He will do it through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So in my mind I am a slave to God's law. But in my sinful nature I am a slave to the law of sin.
Romans 7:21-25 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
21So I’ve discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God’s standards say is good. 22I take pleasure in God’s standards in my inner being. 23However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin’s standards which still exist throughout my body. 24What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?
25I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me! So I am obedient to God’s standards with my mind, but I am obedient to sin’s standards with my corrupt nature.
We are truly creatures of habit. There are things we have picked up as we live our lives that are with us everyday. We have all heard the term that "old habits are hard to break", and we all can count those silly things we do day in and day out, that no matter what we do, we continue to do.
This can be especially true with sin. Many of us did particular things we got into the habit of doing before we knew God, before we knew about Jesus Christ. Now as we try to live a life worthy of Jesus has done for us, those habitual sins still hang on to us. It seems that no matter what we do, we can't seem to shake them.
What is that particular sin for you? What is that habit that you can't break? Is it something that you keep secret and are ashamed and embarassed to reveal to anyone? Don't feel alone! Paul spoke about this very thing in his letter to the Roman believers in the 1st Century. He wanted to show them that all of us are in bondage, slaves, to the very same things. We are all slaves to our sinful selves.
But we shouldn't lose hope. In Jesus Christ, because He has given Himself as a payment for ALL of our sins, we can have hope. We can defeat the shackles of sin, and live in freedom because of Jesus. All we need to do is surrender ourselves to Him. In making ourselves slaves to God, we truly become free to live a life free from those petty sins, those old habits. It takes vigilance, but the more we focus on the things of God, the less our sins hold us captive.
Do yourself a huge favor. Whatever it is that has you enslaved, turn it over to Jesus Christ; raise your shackles to Him. He will break the chains and truly make you free, and soon you will break those "old habits".
Shackles used to capture people to be sold into slavery in Africa in the 18th century. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA