«I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do» (Romans 7:15, NIV).
I HATE the sin that is in me!» a friend confessed to me one day.
She and I met frequently to pray together, but on that occasion, I was surprised at her comment.
«Why does our sinful nature betray us so much?’ she asked next. Even when we have declared that we are daughters of God, that we belong to Him and want to walk with Him, we see that it is one thing to make a decision and a different thing to do it.
My friend felt bad, so we prayed for the Holy Spirit to descend with mercy on us, helping us to fight against our nature that is manifested from time to time, against our sinful habits previous to our conversion that have left deep traces in our brains.
A passage in the Bible presents this reality of Christian life: Romans 7. Paul says, «We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it» (verses 14—20, NIV). Finally, Paul arrives at the key question and accompanies it with the even more key answer for our lives: «Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin» (verses 24, 25, NIV).
We have a continuous struggle against self, against sin, even after our conversion. Being converted does not make us perfect; it simply places us on the path of an ever-increasing dependence on God. It is that dependence that transforms us, little by little, into people like Christ. This takes time because we are counteracting habits and mental schemes acquired during many years. Be patient.