Romans   (Today's New International Version unless otherwise noted)

Romans 7

An Illustration From Marriage

1Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature,a the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Lord Jesus, do help me to serve You in Spirit.  Help me to know Your way and presence, day in and day out.  Help me to commune with You and be with You as I work, and rest, and eat, and fast.  Help me to choose my actions and my words by listening to Your Holy Spirit.  Use me for Your glory, in any way you want, through Your Holy Spirit.         

Struggling With Sin

7What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”b 8But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

Are You basically telling us about how attractive forbidden fruit is Lord?  I know that we all want what we should not have, or cannot have.  Why is that Lord?  You offer Yourself freely to us all the time, and we walk away so we can go after something sinful that is hard for us to acquire.  Why Lord.  In heaven will we finally lose the desire to sin?  Lord, help me to be naive when it comes to sin and open my mind and heart to You.      

13Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Lord, I know my sins are utterly sinful.  You've shown me that all sins are so far from Your glory, that the difference between what I once that was a "big" sin verses and "little" sin, doesn't mean anything.  Every sin, is a big sin.  You've also shown me Lord that there is absolutely no excuse for my sins.  I know what is right and wrong, and I often choose wrong.  It is that simple.  Lastly Lord, I want to thank-you for convicting me.  You opened, and continue to open, my eyes and heart to my sinfulness, which leads me to live in the shadow of the cross.  You are truly my only hope and salvation Lord.  I am utterly sinful, but You redeemed me with Your blood and "I know that my redeemer lives, and I shall rise again."         

14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.c For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Can it be Lord that I am somehow separate from the sins that I now commit?  Help me to understand this a little better.  I know there is a battle within me every day.  I accept that this is my destiny till I finally come home to You.  I don't know how this battle gives You glory, but it must somehow.  It is knot mine to know or understand, it is mine to fight.  And so I will fight this battle within, or rather, I will learn to let You fight it within me.  You know Lord, I think I can live with that.  I don't need to know or understand why, I just need to trust in You and fight the battle, though I cry and fall again and again, but that is Your choice and I, I am here to fight the good fight.  Your will be done.         

21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Jesus, I am reminded of the story about an older man explaining to his son that inside him there were 2 dogs fighting.  One a good dog, the other an evil dog.  The son asks which dog was going to win, and the father answered, "whichever dog I feed."

Lord help me to feed the good dog.  Help me to read and love and know Your word.  Help me to pray and really know You.  Lord, help me to be surrounded by people who love You.        

a 5 Or the flesh; also in verse 25
b 7 Exodus 20:17; Deut. 5:21
c 18 Or my flesh