So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.
We have all found this statement to be true in our everyday life. Sin is noteradicated. Evil lies close at hand.
The next verse says: "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being" (verse 22). By "inner being" Paul means the real me. Down deep believers want to please God. We delight in God's law. However, there is a battle: "But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members" (verse 23). Paul often speaks of the battle against demonic forces. He also speaks of the world system, which is hostile to God. But here he is referring to the battle against his own flesh, the sinful tendency within that is opposed to God. In fact, in frustration and a sense of failure, he exclaims: "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (verse 24).
He's desperate! He is essentially saying: "I need help! I cannot do this! I cannot win this battle!" But to be desperate is a good place to be. It is a great place to be. It is a great place to be because we have come to the end of our own strength. We are poor in spirit. We are dependent upon God. Finally he comes to the solution to the sin struggle: "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (verse 25a). Paul says that the solution is not me but Christ, not my efforts but Christ's strength, not my power but Christ's power.
Whenever we reach the end of self and are ready to depend upon God, then we are ready for a breakthrough. The key to the spiritual life is not effort but surrender. The key word here is dependence or desperateness.
Lord, I am totally dependent upon you to win the daily battle against sin.
Note: Beginning tomorrow, these devotional emails will be sent out three times weekly through July - on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We will look back at some of our favorite selections from the Psalms.