God Pause for Wednesday, 7/2/2014

Luther Seminary God Pause

Wednesday, 7/2/2014 Reading: Romans 7:15-25a

A couple months ago, the newspaper carried the headline that a young, female serial bank robber thanked a teller who testified at her trial. She said that she deserved her two- to three-year sentence and hoped that it would help start her over with a clean slate. She didn't want to be the person she had become.

I am not a bank robber, but I can identify with this woman's dilemma. In the "Peanuts" comic strip, Lucy once instructed her younger brother, Linus, by drawing a heart, half of which was black and the other half white. "There is a battle going on within our hearts," Lucy preached. Linus thought about what she had said and exclaimed, "I think that I can feel the fight going on inside of me!"

The wars that we fear will rob us of our independence are often the result of these inner battles that keep people from doing what they know to be good. These inner wars are triggered by greed, revenge and envy. The novel "Lord of the Flies" reminds us how the layer of civilization is only skin deep for the very best of us.

Who or what will deliver us from the ravages of this inner war? Paul spends this whole chapter in Romans expanding on his answer before concluding, "Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Sounds simplistic, but I can testify that while the battles never cease, we can, with Jesus' help, do the good he has called us to do. That is also a victory and freedom worth celebrating this week.

Christos Victor, we thank you for your offer to live within us to help us to do the good we want to do. Amen.

Hubert Nelson Eden Prairie, Minn. Master of Divinity, 1962

Romans 7:15-25a (NRSV)

15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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