Signposts: Daily Devotions

Wednesday, January 28

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
—Romans 7:15

Of all the verses in Scripture, this one from Romans is the hardest to face. The truth of it knocks the wind out of me. I do not understand my own actions all too often. I tell myself I am going to change certain behaviors—simple things like drinking less coffee and exercising more—and I no sooner make those “decisions” than I am stopping at Starbucks and then rationalizing why I have too much to do to take a walk!

And those things I have mentioned are, as we know, minor compared to some major damage that we are capable of, and sometimes guilty of, committing. In everything from relationships to the environment, our actions can be, to use Paul’s word, hateful.

We do something thinking no one will ever know about it, and the power of that action reverberates far beyond ourselves. We consume irrationally, we ignore warnings and statistics about the ecology. This list is endless, and I invite you to join me in being aware of the powerful truth in this scripture.

But Paul does not leave us hanging in despair. He continues in Romans chapter 7 and 8 to delve into human failing AND God’s love for us. In a nutshell, Paul says that the Spirit of God dwells in us, making us children of God. “For all who are led by the Spirit are children of God.” I commend these chapters to you.

Thanks be to God for the mercy that awaits each of us when we travel from our own darkness into the light of God’s presence.

Most merciful God, may I live more and more aware of your Spirit within. Give me courage to know myself and to ask for help in being more the child you created me to be. Amen.