I vividly remember the first time I read Paul’s passage in Romans 7:15-17. I was breathless. I was a baby Christian in my 20s. “That’s me!” I cried.
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.
Do you relate to this verse? We all battle sin daily. The important thing is to separate ourself from the sin, to recognize and repent of the sin and focus on God’s mercy and forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Don’t allow Satan to turn the sin into condemnation or the sin can be multiplied, i.e. we wallow in guilt and shame, beating ourselves up for not measuring up, resulting in a downhill spiral of self condemnation.
There is a simple test to see if you experiencing condemnation by the enemy or gentle conviction by the Holy Spirit. Guilt and/or shame will draw your further away from the Lord deeper into sin. Conviction is the Holy Spirit nudging us to confess and turn from the sin as He provides the power to overcome (Rom. 2:4; 8:31-39; Phil. 4:13; Luke 22:31-32).
In the past I attended churches that taught and focused on guilt and condemnation instead of God’s love. In return, I taught my children with a focus on guilt and condemnation instead of God’s love. The concept of grace, not works, was taught but my actions taught performance. How sad.
The fruit of legalistic teaching is pride and judgmental attitudes; not just judging others, but consistently judging self. Satan wants to keep us focused on our failures so we don’t overcome the sin.
Paul was a zealous legalistic teacher before he met Jesus. Moses, David, Peter, Paul and other traitors are object lessons explaining God’s story of redemption. Each experienced extraordinary failure, but moved beyond it to become the people that God called them to be. Moses was a murderer, Jacob and Esau were from a dysfunctional family, and King David was an adulterer who murdered his lover’s husband. These people became “successful failures.”
Peter was a boaster, being confident in himself. Like us, he was prone to make grand promises to God and then to blow it in actual experience, leading to the ache of shame. Luke 22:59-62.
Remember shame caused Adam and Eve to run from God. Peter saw his own depravity; how far He was from the glory of God.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell down at the knees of Jesus, and exclaimed, “Master, leave my boat, for I am a sinful man.” Luke 5:8
Romans 6-8 explains that we cannot overcome the sinful nature by our own power. We can only overcome it with the Spirit’s power. But we can find victory over sin. God understands our frustrations and wants to meet us where we are.
Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
God is eager to forgive and restore His relationship with us. He is a forgiving Father whose love and patience are unlimited. Walk in His love and mercy.
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