I’ve never related to an older man from 2000 years ago until today. Sometimes reading the Word and the people in it start to become more like characters in a story rather than people who lived and breathed thousands of years ago.
I admit I am guilty of this. I think many of us are. We assume these people don’t understand what’s going on in our lives. They couldn’t possibly know. So, what could anyone have to say that would be relevant now?
Romans 7 & 8 – Paul speaking (NIV)
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do [I do]. (7:16)
Do you ever catch yourself believing that these men and women, especially Paul and the disciples, did a lot of good and led perfect, Godly lives? You might be thinking, I could never live as they do.
Paul proves us wrong. He is transparent, honest, and completely accurate about how we live our lives here on Earth. He fails on a daily basis. This is not for anyone to feel better about themselves or to compare their spiritual walk as better or worse. It is for all lovers of God who think they are not enough, or that they are alone in this challenging life.
He goes on to say “it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is the sin living in me.”
Nothing good comes from sin.
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
When was the last time you heard someone in church say this to you? When was the last time you heard a fellow Christian admit to this? I believe Paul – from 2,000 years ago- is more relatable than many of the people around us today that we call Christians, including ourselves.
Paul writes about his failures, his inability to overcome sin completely on his own, he is open and truthful about how he lives.
You know that one thing you just can’t give up? Whether that’s an addiction to gossiping, lying, drugs, sex, or pornography and anything else that might come to mind, Paul struggled with something similar too. Just because he was a large part of history doesn’t mean he didn’t have flaws.
Failure is nothing new, neither is sinning.
Living in the 21st century does not make us special. There is nothing happening today that surprises God or that hasn’t happened in the past. It may look slightly different, but 2,000 years ago the people had to deal with murder, prostitution, gossip, terrorists, suffering, lust, lying and more. They might have different names, and we might have more resources to prove and show these things happening, but they occurred nonetheless.
“When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. In my inner being, I delight in God’s law, but I see another law at work in the members of my body.”