“I do not understand my actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
— Romans 7:15
ARE WE WILLING TO PAY THE PRICE?
One of my clients is trying to lose a substantial amount of weight. We have been working on it for some months, with stop-and-go results. Finally, she revealed to me, “I just can’t give up the food, but I want to give up the food.” It would be easy to judge her and say “you have to” or “you are not hard enough on yourself.” But it is more complex than that. There is an underlying issue that won’t let her move forward. It is two things. First, it is the natural human condition that Paul talks about in the book of Romans. We all try to do what we should, but often fall short. Second, it is giving up control. For my client it’s about control. In everything she does she needs that feeling of being in charge. Food is a form of that. The food is hers; no one can tell her what to do with it.
“I asked her, ‘Are you willing to pay the price?”
After a long discussion, I suggested her husband start buying the groceries. That her husband be allowed to control what gets ordered and what gets brought into the house. A huge sigh came out at that suggestion. Enough to terrify her husband. I asked her, “Are you willing to pay the price?” We debated the issue for a long time. I pointed out to her that it was this sense of controlling everything that had led to her overeating. It appeared in everything she did. I also showed her this verse, which comforted her. The great apostle Paul had the same issue she had. He also didn’t do what he should. My client was amazed and strengthened to discover that her affliction was a natural human instinct. It gave her hope. She agreed to let her husband shop for their food and to live with what he bought.
“Our natural human instinct prevents us from reaching our goals.”
Today’s verse sums up the natural human instinct of avoidance, procrastination, and the delusions and misdeeds that go with it. It is those things that prevent us from having a fuller life. Our natural human instinct prevents us from reaching our goals. It is actually the mind playing tricks on us. Telling us what we deserve. Telling us it’s okay, just this once. It tells us that we are justified, even when we know we are not. Afterward, the results reveal the full impact of our misdeeds. And then we dive into remorsefulness. We chastise ourselves silently. We vow to never to do it again. But we do. Even Paul did.
“Change will happen when we give up the control of a natural life.”
We want to go the extra mile. We want to be the best. We want to have faith. We want all this. But we have to pay the price. Thankfully, we have Jesus, who lives among us. Who is always with us. When we begin the cycle of doing what we don’t want to do, we should try praying, with and for Jesus. Ask for a brake on our actions. For within us we also have the spirit. When we turn from what we don’t want to do, to Jesus and the spirit of God within us, we begin getting off the merry-go-round of leading a natural life. We begin leading a life led by the spirit. Change will happen when we give up the control of a natural life.
“Through our faith we begin to notice that we are now willing to pay the price.”
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
What do we do that we don’t want to do?
What are the things we rationalize?
How do we manifest the spirit within us?