…by Jo Anne Stas
When I reflect on the principles Greg taught on this week I think of an equation that looks like this:
God’s design for us + Our cooperation = Peace
God’s design always remains constant in this equation but when I take out my cooperation it doesn’t add up to peace, it adds up to tension. In my own life, that tension usually manifests itself through frustration. I get frustrated with myself (and sometimes I take it out on others) when I know I’m not cooperating with God’s design for my life. Romans 7:18-24 says:
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
I can resonate with Paul in this passage because I know when I assert my will (removing my cooperation) over God’s design it leads to chaos not peace. But I also need to remember as a Christ follower, that the goal is consistency not perfection. I need to remind myself not to beat myself up over my failures but instead, turn them over to God. I need to keep moving forward towards the peace in my life God intends. One of the things I love about Romans 7 is that it doesn’t end with verse 24 it goes on to answer the question, “Who will free me….?” Verse 25a says:
Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.
God’s mercy is new everyday and when I move out of cooperation in my relationships, my finances or any other area, restoring peace is only a prayer away.