Romans 7: 7- 25
Step 1: I will accept help from others who are qualified and any treatment I may need!
One of the Big Problems all people face, including Christians, is answered in this verse; does sin still affect me? The answer is a yes to the rules, and yes to the Spirit and the virtue of it. Basically, we are powerless over sin; that is why we need a Savior. And we are powerless over our dependencies and addictions, also why we need a Savior. Let Jesus save you! You may think you are in control but in fact, you are not; your control is only an illusion whereas Christ's ability to help you is a reality! You cannot mange your problem; you need help!
· The Law reflects God's character, His holiness. It shows us our sins and inadequacies. The Law not only defines sin but also provokes us to react to God by either running to or away from Him. We must realize the veracity of this struggle and fight against it in the power of Spirit and the Word (1 Cor. 4:4). The Law is spiritual; we are carnal. The Law is perfect and we are corrupt. If we ignore the Old Testament and the Law, we will not realize our sin! The Pharisees manipulated and misrepresented it (Matt. 5-7). The Law depended on our righteousness; grace depends on Christ's righteousness that covers us.
· "Lust" or "Covet", (Gr. epithumia), is desire, craving, longing, and desire for what is forbidden; the active side of a vice. This is a word comprehensive in meaning, not limited to sexual desire! Thus this can mean, "over desire." "I had not known lust (to be sin) except the Law had said..." Thus, it can be alcohol, drugs, sex, codependency, a bad habit or…whatever you struggle with!
· Paul even said the Law could motivate us to sin, thus what offensive sinners we are. He realized that he could not live under the Law and be free from lust and the evil desires of the human heart. He knew he was breaking the Law, but could not stop it. This is why people want to escape the Law, but without Christ we escape only to find ourselves in Hell!
· Sin is the great deceiver (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:4). People tend to like extremes, and to live as they please, but they cannot ignore the Law. The Law brings out the worst in us, while the love of Christ brings out the best (Lev. 18:5; Deut. 30:15-19).
· The Law cannot change us, only reveal what is already there. Sin deceives, the Law reveals truth, and Christ brings us the hope. The Law cannot enable us to do good, because by nature we are bad. The Law is absurd to those who see their hope in themselves or in pleasure and have closed themselves off from Christ's work. The Law cannot set us free from sin; it only shows the chains of our bondage to sin as in our addiction or dependency.
· The Law does not take into account our failings or weaknesses; it is absolute. Once we realize who we are to the Law, that we have no hope in ourselves, then the Spirit will convict us. I am a guilty sinner and have no right, is our start for hope (James 2:10).
· What causes despair (vs. 18)? There is nothing we can do until we realize who Christ is and who we are!
· We have no right to turn sin into a right (Ezek. 37:3-12)!
We desire to have our cake and eat it too, to have both sin and Christ. We struggle to compartmentalize and rationalize, but the key is "struggle". Christians are the only ones to have this "flesh" struggle; the people of the world can live in comfort and harmony with sin, and rationalize it; just watch the day time talk shows or listen to the excuses at any 12 step meeting before a person takes on this first step (we recommend you get into a good 12 step program!) The only thing we can do is fall at His feet, dead to ourselves (Duet. 33:27; John 3:30; Rev. 1:17). Righteousness cannot be achieved by any human effort; we can do nothing outside of Christ. God's will is in complete control, and we must remove whatever is blocking us to realize this-pleasures and choices that are deliberately contrary to His character. Unless we see what is blocking us to see sin and what is blocking us to remove the sin, we will not be able to do so! Allow the Spirit and the Law to show you! Then be obedient! Our relief and joy is in Christ; unspeakable gratitude for our deliverance must flow from within us. We cannot struggle in vain to ourselves for what Christ did for free.
1. Did you read Dr. Seuss as a child or have you read it to your children? If so, how did you like his use of words? Did you feel like Dr. Seuss got his inspiration from this passage, as it seems Paul is so excited he cannot describe what the Lord is having him say?
- Some people think they can mange substance or addiction problems. Why is this not true in your experience?
- What financial, legal, or relational problems have occurred because of your struggles?
- How does addiction or dependency compromise your values and beliefs in Christ?
5. What has been the greatest conflict in your life?
6. Why is it that you cannot manage your problem; why do you need help? Have you sought help? If so, why? If not, why?
7. What is your delight in? That is, what gives you the greatest pleasure in life?
8. Is there any doubt that Christ has control in your life? If not, what is in the way?
9. What will it take for your trust in our Lord 110%?
10. What are some of the leading causes of addiction and dependency? How are they similar to our "breakups" with our Lord?
- How do addictions or dependencies derail your opportunities in life and growth in our Lord?
12. When coworkers and fellow students see you, as a Christian, struggling with your issues, they may get their perceptions and ideas about God from you. Such as, if a Christian is a jerk, then they may see God as uncaring. What do you think of this?
13. How do you think people see God through your character and interrelations with others?
14. What do you see as your inadequacy?
15. Have you struggled with lust? If so, what steps do you take to prevent its ugly head from affecting your relationships?
16. What brings out the worst in you? What brings out the best in you?
17. How has sin deceived you? What indicators do you use to determine right from wrong?
18. What circumstances have revealed truth in your life? (personal and/or observed)
19. If you say, "Christ brings us the hope", and then someone said back to you "so what!" How would you respond?
20. What enables you to do good vs. doing bad?
21. Do you have anyone in your life that enables you to do bad? What do you need to do about it?
22. What needs to be removed from you or someone you know whose faulty thinking is blocking you/them from realizing that misplaced overabundance of pleasure and bad choices are deliberately contrary to His character and call for our life?
23. Have you accepted quality help from others who are qualified and any treatment you may need? If not why not? How can you "take care if business" in this area? Who will help you?
Mediate on these passages for the next week or more: Psalm 1; 51:17; 116:1-9
© 1990, 1998, 2004, Dr. Richard J. Krejcir, Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org