Doing and Refraining

Read Romans 7:15-25a

As a child matures, they will test boundaries established by parents and other adults in life. This is a part of the learning process. The testing seems to drastically increase throughout  the teenage years as the child strives to establish even greater independence. Frequently the child will do what he/she knows is wrong in an effort to discover any reactions and repercussions. In a strange way this is necessary for a healthy level of independence to be nurtured. As adults the role is to minimize the risks to the child, and clearly communicate and fairly administrate repercussions.

Paul wrestled with this conundrum as he wrote to the Roman believers. Using himself as an example, Paul. says that he knows what he should do, and even desires it, but he consistently fails to do what is right. He also says the opposite is true, he knows what not to do but does it anyway. A vicious cycle exists. After confessing this reality, Paul indicates only Jesus saves him from this cycle destroying him.

This passage makes it easy for us to relate to Paul. Each one of us understands and lives the cycle which Paul describes. The saving act of Christ is the only thing which saves us from the severe repercussions of our actions. We must continuously learn from this cycle, striving to improve each time we travel around it. Like a child hopefully learns and matures  into an adult who strives to limit the errors in choices, we mature into followers of Christ who do more good as we want and should while doing less of those things we should not. The grace and salvation of Christ will keep us safe as we learn and grow.

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