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Devotional - week of February 23, 2003


PASSIONATE COMMITMENT TO CERTAIN FAILURE

… the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  Romans 8:7

Most of us can say that Paul’s words in Romans 7:15 express our feelings about ourselves. He wrote:

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

Paul wrote those words in the context of a confession that he had mistakenly tried to please God through attempting in his own strength to keep the commandment “You shall not covet …”

In Romans 7:4 Paul teaches that our commitment to keeping the commands of the Bible can be so intense we are married to them.

Such intensity can be the result of a burning passion to be accepted by God or pleasing to God while believing that God accepts us or we please Him by our commitment to keeping the commands of the Bible.

According to Romans 8:3, when we commit ourselves to keeping the commands of the Bible in our own strength, we are in the flesh. And the “carnal mind” or “the mind of the flesh” “…  is not subject to the law of God nor indeed can be.”

The result of the passionate commitment, then, is that empty feeling expressed in Romans 7:15:

There is another way—and it is the way to victory. Romans 8:4 speaks of the righteous requirement of the law being fulfilled in us:

… who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

According to Romans 8:2, the Holy Spirit is continuously working in our hearts to live out the commands of Romans 6:11-13. When we respond to that leadership, we will be filled with the Spirit and He will live out the commands through us.

The result is an inner sense of fulfillment—not  an inner sense of failure.