“Don’t you remember how it was? I do, perfectly well. The law code started out as an excellent piece of work. What happened, though, was that sin found a way to pervert the command into a temptation, making a piece of “forbidden fruit” out of it. The law code, instead of being used to guide me, was used to seduce me. Without all the paraphernalia of the law code, sin looked pretty dull and lifeless, and I went along without paying much attention to it. But once sin got its hands on the law code and decked itself out in all that finery, I was fooled, and fell for it. The very command that was supposed to guide me into life was cleverly used to trip me up, throwing me headlong. So sin was plenty alive, and I was stone dead. But the law code itself is God’s good and common sense, each command sane and holy counsel.” 7:8-12 The Message
I can’t help but drop my head down in defeat when I read this. Why is that the way it is? Why do I instantly want three servings of cake once I’ve put myself on a diet? How come my son ONLY wants to play with the things I’ve restricted in the house? Why is something deeply appealing once it’s been forbidden?
Our sin nature runs deep, it’s roots tangled up in our Spirit-soaked hearts. Like Paul, I think it’s best to admit this about yourself and then start working around it. But how?
Know what tempts you. I don’t ever feel compelled to steal, but oh man, do I love to join in on gossiping. Where do you find yourself frequently giving in to what’s wrong?
Be above reproach. Once you know yourself and your weak spots where sin seeps in, you can start preventing it. Set up boundaries and accountability for yourself! It’s all in the small, wise decisions that stop you from making giant mistakes.
Lean into the Spirit. “The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.” 7:25
Jesus is our answer, our antidote to the poisons of sin.