I Don’t Understand What I Do ~ blog
Paul wrote these words in Romans 7. The second half of this amazing chapter of Paul’s disclosure of the inner battle he faced against his flesh should help us all to understand that this internal battle is real and is a really difficult battle. Here is how he describes it;
“I do not understand what I do.
For what I want to do I do not do,
but what I hate I do.”
That hits the nail on the head … does it not? I believe every one of us could say the same thing. How many times, even after being in a recovery program and having solid growth in your recovery does something happen, and you find yourself wallowing again in your sin? Things had been going better and you began to believe that maybe just maybe you had things under control … then BAMM … you have a fall or two or four.
It is so very discouraging. Doubts and lies flood our thinking. We might even believe that we will never be free from sexual sin. Then we are tempted to start blaming God or wondering if we even really know God. Perhaps we are not even saved. So, we wallow in it, feeling sorry for ourselves, and are tempted to give up.
Does it shock you to realize that Paul is describing the same thing we experience in Romans 7? He did not understand why he does what he does not want to do and does not do what he knows he should do. Why is this happening to us … and why was it happening to Paul?
Now Paul is going to give us, under the direction of the Holy Spirit some insight into the core reality of this problem. He says;
“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 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. Now 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.”
Notice carefully that there is one idea that he says twice with the exact same wording. This is not Paul making up some excuse about why the sin of coveting was still a battle in his life. He says twice;
- Verse 17 – “As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.”
- Verse 20 – “Now 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.”
Before we get to what Paul means by this statement, we need to remember who is writing these words and when is he writing them. This is the Apostle Paul writing to the Roman church and he is going to write Romans 8 which may be the most incredible chapter in the Bible. Paul is not talking about what his life was in the past. Every verb is present tense, and, in the end, he says;
“What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
He does not say “wretched man that I was.” He is sharing with us that this battle with our flesh is something that even he had to deal with. Then he immediately says;
“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Please do not miss this. Who is it that delivers him and who must deliver us? It is the work of God to deliver us from the powerful presence of our flesh. It is our flesh that leads us into sin and will love to keep doing that for the rest of our lives. It is no longer I who does it but sin living in me.
So, when we are beating ourselves up over another failure, we are beating up the wrong person. It is our flesh or sin that dwells within us that causes us to sin. It is always there ready, willing, and able to have another lust filled time with porn and masturbation. Then it subsides for a bit only to come back later wanting more.
I have found that most men who struggle with sexual sin and porn greatly underestimate their flesh and how powerful and sinful it really is. The bad news is it is rotten to the core and will never get better. The good news is that once we die it will be gone forever.
So, if when I sin it is no longer me who sins but sin that dwells within me what do I need to do so that this does not continue to happen? In several places in the Bible Paul tells us that we need to put to death our sin nature/flesh. In Colossians 3:5 he says it and in Romans 8:13;
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”
We are to, by means of the Holy Spirit, put to death the sins of the body … or the sins of our flesh. We have this powerful flesh inside of us, but we also have the most powerful Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us. And He is infinitely more powerful than our flesh. And in order for us to be putting our flesh to death by means of the Spirit, we must be filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit every day.
Holy Spirit … Fill’er up!!!