July 15 I Monday
“So I find this law at work: although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.” —Romans 7:21
In this life, we are constantly at war, not with another country, but within ourselves. Paul tells us, “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. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19).
Paul acknowledges that there is a battle going on in his own heart. His desires are in conflict with each other so he does not do what he wants. Why? Paul notes that there is another law at work within him that makes him, “a prisoner of the law of sin” (Romans 7:23). Our spiritual warfare and this constant battle that takes place is not out there in this world, it is here within our minds, in most instances, because of the old nature that we have.
At this revelation, Paul exclaims, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” (Romans 7:24). He rhetorically responds, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25). We give our life away to God in all its weakness and poverty and He gives His life away to us in all its richness and power. We live in the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. Hence, Paul declares,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
“The exchanged life” is a term coined and attributed to Hudson Taylor, a great missionary pioneer of the 19th century, who expressed that the secret of a changed life is in discovering it is an exchanged life. In other words, the Christian life is not so much about God changing us as replacing us. When God indwells us, He implants within us a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. He works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. To be crucified with Christ is to recognize that God has taken all that we are in our old selves and He has united it with Christ in His death, so as far as God is concerned our sinful nature is already dealt with and we are declared righteous. It is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us. We still battle in this life with that old nature, which we will do till the day we die, but instead, Christ now lives victoriously in us through an exchanged life.
Prayer: Dear God, even though there is a war within me, I am thankful that I can live an exchanged life. Thank You for taking away my old nature and declaring me righteous in Your sight.