Spiritual Director · September 12, 2017

Devote #103

I’m wondering if any of you have anybody in your life that just really flips your switch? I mean they know all the right buttons to push you over the edge, and they don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s not anything intentional or purposeful, but from past experience, just the sound of their voice can drive you mad.

When you see them enter the room, you already have that tingly feeling and you know things aren’t going to go right. They just irritate you. They way they handle themselves… the sound of their voice… how they act or react… their mannerisms… they just rub you the wrong way. Maybe this message is really only for me today?

I bring that all up because of what I read in Romans 7 today. The guy writing this book of the Bible, Paul, is talking about our battle with sin. He tells us the Law of God, which is holy and correct and good, only shows us our sin, and our sin will kill us.

But instead of point fingers at everyone else and telling them how pathetic they are, he looks within. He’s the person in the mirror that needs to be dealt with. Read some of the things he says about himself and his struggle with sin…
“I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate.” Romans 7:15 CEV

“Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong.” Romans 7:18b-19a CEV

It’s then he concludes,

“What a miserable person I am.” — Romans 7:24 

As I read that I’m confronted with myself in the mirror. I do the things I know are wrong, but do them anyway. And the things I know are right to do, well, I don’t do them. I want to say, “Paul, move over. I’m just as wretched and hopeless.” Maybe it’s not the other person who’s so irritating… maybe it’s me. Maybe I should deal with my sin first, before I look with disconnect on others.

What am I going to do? And that’s exactly the question Paul asked. He asked,

“Who will rescue me from this body that is doomed to die?” — Romans 7:24

His answer,

“Thank God! Jesus Christ will rescue me.” — Romans 7:25

Don’t know if you knew you needed rescuing, but if you’re anything like me, you realize you need rescuing every day – all day.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Take a look in the mirror. Look deeply and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you to see the things you do and don’t do which are killing you. Then ask Jesus to come rescue you. He has and He will again.

My sin is killing me. Forgive me, Jesus. In Your name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.