Pulled Two Ways
Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on me. That’s my desire for myself today.
Read ROMANS 7:7-25
 What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”  But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.  Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.  So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.  Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.  We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives 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 what I do is not the good I want to do; no, 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.  So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat's the great frustration Paul expresses here?
Is there a person alive who can’t say “I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it” (15)? In our heads we know what is right; Paul calls this the law (7). Yet something within us makes us do the opposite; Paul calls this sin (8). He explains that while the law informs our minds, it can’t energize our wills. So we find ourselves pulled in two directions: wanting to do good, but doing the opposite (21-23). Little wonder that he asks, “Who will free me from this life” (24)?
Jesus can (25). That sounds great, but the reality is different. Christians pray and expect Jesus to deliver them from being pulled two ways. Yet we still do what we don’t want to do. For my part, I’ve found that walking with Jesus helps. He energizes my will. I am better able to do the good I want to do. But that doesn’t happen all the time. I still end up doing things I don’t want to. I suspect that complete deliverance from being pulled in two ways happens when we go to be with Jesus. The help I’ve found already is a foretaste of what’s to come.
Whatever the mistakes of the past, it’s a new day. Ask Jesus to strengthen you to do the good you want to.
Lord Jesus, I want to live only Your way, the way of obedience to You. That’s what I really want.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Discovery is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.