Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why We Do What We Do (Part 1)

In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul cries out in frustration:

Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

Not Doing What We Should

Sometimes we all feel that way – it seems we can’t do anything right. Before we know it we’ve done something to displease God or a loved one, and we wonder if we’ll ever improve. Then we read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, and we question whether we could ever be so caring and as generous as he was.

I believe that’s why the parable of the Good Samaritan and similar teachings are in the Bible – to remind us that we are called to a higher purpose.

•We are called to get out of our comfort zones – although we should never put ourselves in danger, of course.

•We are called to make sacrifices to the glory of God.

•We are called to help others as opportunities present themselves and as we are urged to do so by the Holy Spirit.

When we help others, it is as if we were helping Jesus himself, as we read in Matthew 25:37-40 (NRSV):

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”

As mentioned earlier, the Apostle Paul was obviously frustrated with himself, that he didn’t always do the right thing either. We can see his frustration in Romans 7:21-24a:

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! NLT

More on this subject in a future post.

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