Psalms 10-12 Acts 19:1-20 


“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do... For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” —Romans 7:15 & 18


When Adam and Eve sinned, God withdrew His Spirit from them, and consequently, we are all born separated from the life of God. While retaining the capacity for godliness, without the Spirit of God, we have lost the capability for it. Our capacity for godliness is evidenced in our frustrations with evil in this world and our desire for good. Our lost capability is seen in our repeated failure to perform the way we know we should. 

The apostle Paul talked honestly about this conflict within himself. He says that he does not do what he wants to do, but what he hates to do, he does. He writes, “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me” (Romans 7:17). He goes on to say, “So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being, I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me” (Romans 7:21-23).

We all face the same struggle in that our capacity for goodness, which deep down we believe in and long to fulfill, is frustrated by a lack of capability for goodness. What we want and what we do are in conflict with each other, but here is the good news. It is when our desire and capability for goodness are in conflict that we find the margin into which God will step. Paul explains, “For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3-4).

It is the bankruptcy of our hearts inherent in our sinful natures that creates our need for the life of Christ to operate as our source and strength. Realizing the bankruptcy of our own hearts is the best discovery we can make, because it is then we turn from our own strengths and abilities to dependence on Jesus Christ. As the only sinless person, we have in Christ the means to do what we want to do, but lack the capability. The flesh will always fight against the Spirit, but in allowing Christ to live His life in us and through us, there is freedom and victory over sin, as He alone is capable.


PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am so much aware of my constant battle against the flesh. I ask that your Spirit fill me and be my strength to live a godly life, pleasing to You. Thank You, Lord.

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