"And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. . . . 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? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:18-19, 22-25 NLT)
Thoughts for Today
We've looked at the 20-60-20 ratio represented in most churches. Think about this . . . which category would your friends put you in? Would they say you are part of the 20 percent who do most of the church work, the 60 percent who may hide their struggles, or the 20 percent who are openly struggling?
Now change your focus. Which segment would you place yourself in? When you look honestly at your heart, do you see an issue that has more control over your thoughts and actions than you would like?
If there is a difference between your two answers, ask yourself why.
Consider this …
We all struggle with sin. In today's scripture, the apostle Paul describes his struggles. Sound familiar? He wanted to do what was right but didn't. He didn't want to do wrong but did it anyhow. Even though he loved God with all his heart.
But he found the answer. Jesus. And Jesus is our answer too. Only Jesus can forgive us. Only Jesus can give us the strength to make the right choices. Only Jesus can set us free.
Lord, thank you for your mercy, your compassion, your grace. Thank you that you love me even though I've let you down. I know my only answer is Jesus . . . and I choose to follow him. In his name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:
Part 1: Learning to Live Free
- Defining Life-Controlling Problems
- Mastered and Trapped by Issues
- Walls of Protection
- Family Influences
- Helping or Harming?
Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups
- The Small Group Strategy
- Effective Facilitation and Communication
Launching a Living Free Ministry
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