Perfection Not Required (Romans 7:14-8:13)
In the midst of this earthly battle with my flesh, I will never be alone.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” – Romans 7:15
Me too!!! I’m a rule follower. I almost can’t help it. It just feels right to do the right thing, so I want to follow the rules. But I’m also stubborn, independent and a perfectionist. I want to do things my way and by myself, and I want to do it right the first time.
When I have trouble following a simple rule or performing a simple task correctly, it makes me feel like I’m not in control of myself. My mind says one thing, but my flesh (sometimes my mouth and sometimes my hands) does something different. Sometimes it’s little things like spilling milk, other times it’s bigger things like making assumptions about people, or purposefully putting myself first. There is a conflict going on inside me that is frustrating. It is a battle, and in the end, according to Romans, it is ultimately evil. It takes me captive. It binds me tight. It makes me guilty.
I want to try to solve the problem myself. “I’ll just do better next time.” “I’ll just pray more.” “I’ll just be nicer.” “I’ll just [fill in the blank]” …but I can’t. I will never be good enough. I can try to change my heart, but I can’t win this battle by myself.
These frequent frustrations have led me to three conclusions:
One: No matter how hard I try, or how much I know, I can’t be “better” by myself.
Two: I need help, and Jesus has offered to help me.
Three: When I accept the help Jesus offers, I am relieved.
To set your mind on the flesh is sin and death.
To set your mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Even while my flesh is evil and full of death and I cannot help it, through Jesus, I have the Spirit of God.
That Spirit sets me free from the captivity of my flesh.
That Spirit dwells inside me.
That Spirit makes me belong.
That Spirit is life because of righteousness.
That Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.
That Spirit helps me put to death the deeds of my own flesh.
That Spirit allows me to live.
God isn’t concerned with whether or not I do everything right or perfectly. He knows that I can’t ever be good enough on my own. He’s concerned with what I do with my heart. That’s why He offers me Jesus.
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
And once I am in Christ Jesus, He has given His Spirit to live inside me, so in the midst of this earthly battle with my flesh, I will never be alone.
Accept the rescue that Jesus offers, and be free to live!