“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice» (Romans 7: 19).
Compulsion is a constant in addictions. The obsessive thoughts tend to follow compulsion. Compulsions are repetitive acts that drive the person to perform them; hence, the drinker drinks over and over again and the gambler gambles again and again. A conversation with any substance or behavior addict will be uttered in a similar way: «It’s something unstoppable;» «It’s impossible for me to say no;» «I can’t control myself;» «It’s unstoppable.
In reading Chapter 7 of Romans, we can see something similar in Paul’s testimony: there are two forces within him. Today’s verse does not apply specifically to addictions; but to Paul’s own situation which can be relevant to all human beings. The apostle Paul is courageous in making an example out of himself—an example of sin and not of perfection. Only in this chapter does he reveal covetousness (v. 8, NRSVA), admits that sin deceived him and killed him (v. I l ), considers himself carnal and sold under sin (v. 14), acknowledges that nothing good dwells in his flesh (v. 18) and, declares that the law of sin is in his members (v. 23). Public confessions of this kind are not frequent, but the truth is that, whether we talk about it or not, we all fight sin.
I (J) will always remember a conversation I had with the teacher who taught me how to drive. When I asked him about the legal speed in cities and highways, he told me different rules and explanations according to the current code, but he concluded saying:
«The most important thing is that you drive with a speed that allows you to control the car and not the car to control you.»
This judgment can be applied to the art of driving our own life to its direction. Is it me who has the control of my existence or am I at the mercy of my habits, obsessions and compulsions that limit my freedom? When we are under the guidance of the forces of evil, we will eventually express the same feeling as the apostle Paul’s, «O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?» (Rom. 7:24).
But ultimately, we have our way out in Jesus. HC will make sure that our car—our entire being—can be driven on the heavenly way, and finally. we can say as Paul did, «l thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!» (v. 25).