“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19
As Paul speaks of the battle for sin that we all deal with in Romans 7, he does not give in to despair. We all sin. We all struggle with it. But at times we can let our guard down and stop struggling and just give in to sin. Call it complacency or call it inconsistency, but whatever we call it, sin is sin.
I find that while we may try and put on airs or a façade out in the world, with those we are the most familiar with and most comfortable with we can tend to let our guard down. Ways that we would never treat a stranger can become commonplace in the home or even with other believers in times of fellowship.
Am I working toward sanctification, or is it “anything goes” when I am tired or discouraged or irritated or, you fill in the blank? Do I watch my speech and behavior so that others may follow my example? Or am I getting lazy in how I am living?
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.” Ephesians 4:3-8
You were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Now there is no place for those words or actions that are not befitting a Christian. I have to guard my speech and action and all my behavior so that I can be a good influence on the fellow believer and on the one who needs Christ.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
I may no longer have the youth that Timothy did when Paul gave him this command, but maybe that gives me even less of an excuse when my speech and conduct do not line up with my faith. I have no excuse when I utter a word of which I am ashamed or act in a way I should not act. I know better and I need to continue, with the grace of God, to strive to be consistent in the daily living out of my faith.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Do I build up others around me? In my home? My closest Christian friends? The stranger in line at the grocery store next to me? Or do I live in such a way that others could never see that I have been bought with a price?
Sin is difficult. It is a struggle. Praise God Christianity is no self-help Gospel where I am doomed to failure. God’s Word is sure and the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives is promised. As we strive to be more consistent, let us give thanks to our deliverer.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 7:24-8:2