If you checked out the iPod Devotional last week you know that Paul of Tarsus was our guest commentator. He has graciously agreed to return for this week. Thank you for joining us again.
Paul of Tarsus: Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Dave of Garland: Thanks Paul. Our devotional this week is a song by Todd Agnew that hits a topic that you wrote a lot about. Here are some of the lyrics…
It's funny how a big ol' fish can hear Your voice
Find one man in the whole ocean and swallow him whole
Because You said so
It's funny how a little plant can hear Your voice
And grow as big as a tent to give that man a home
Because You said so
And You speak to me all the time
And I can't obey You to save my life
Dave of Garland: The song is called Funny and the title is a little ironic because our struggle to obey God's law is anything but funny.
Paul of Tarsus: The trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
Dave of Garland: Then you can certainly relate to the chorus of Todd's song.
Well, I can but I don't, and I want to, but I won't
And I don't do what I want to
I do what I don't mean to
And I'm confused
It's funny how a fish can obey You but I can't
Paul of Tarsus: I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
Dave of Garland: Uhhhhhh…that is a bit of a downer Paul. Is there any answer?
Paul of Tarsus: Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Dave of Garland: How is Jesus the answer?
Paul of Tarsus: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you…The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do…For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
Dave of Garland: That is powerful stuff Paul. You should put that in a book.
(Funny look from Paul)
Note: Paul's answers courtesy of the New Living Translation. Apparently Paul did write this stuff in Romans, Chapters 7 and 8.