What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:24)

SOME OF US DO NOT LIKE to buy new things. Perhaps we have a car that has problem after problem, but we do repair after repair instead of buying a new one. Perhaps there is something around our house that we keep taping and re-taping. At some point, though, that car or household item just cannot be fixed, and we are faced with the realization that we cannot go on patching it up. We need something new.

In our verse for today, Paul’s dramatization has reached its climax. He had been illustrating the plight of someone who knows what God wants and is trying do to it. But this imagined person does not yet have the power of the Spirit. He or she is still trying to become right with God by personal efforts. This person is taping and re-taping a weak, sinful life, hoping it will hold together one more time.

When we attempt to please God through our own efforts, we will fail. We must come to see that the body can follow only the path of death. Thankfully, Romans 7 does not end here!

When you feel the helplessness that comes from repeatedly falling into temptation, remember that victory is possible. God does not intend you to continue in failure. A new life of freedom awaits those who live by the Spirit.

Identify an area in which you have failed often and surrender it to God.

Ken Schenck is dean of the School of Theology and Ministry and professor of New Testament and ancient languages at Indiana Wesleyan University. His publications include The Early Church: Reaching the World (WPH) and more.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.