Read Romans 7
Focus on verse 18-19
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions…” So the saying goes. What it means is that good intentions alone don’t add up to much if they are not followed up with good actions. There must be a motivation and some ability to act upon those good intentions. When we act upon our good intentions, it begins to move us toward the good that we intend to accomplish, but even the best intentions can sometimes have catastrophic results.
In today’s reading Paul reveals some of his most personal inner struggles, confessing that he to is unable, by his own strength, to resist the wiles and temptations of evil.
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (v. 18-19)
Toward the end of the chapter he labels himself a “wretched loser” utterly unable to do the right things he wants to do, but easily completing the evil things he is trying so desperately to avoid. This is the road we walk daily as believers, and ironically the more we try to resist evil and do good the more we seem to fail. Like so many biblical truths, it is as typically when we give up and throw ourselves upon the mercy of God in utter frustration that God is finally able to help us succeed at what we could not accomplish in our own strength. It would seem then that is is exactly the point that Paul is emphasizing I this chapter. It is typically only when we come to the end our our own efforts that we finally realize that sin is a little like quick sand. The more we struggle to get free the deeper we sink. The only way out is to stop struggling and grab hold of Jesus and allow Him to pull us out. “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)