“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am a flesh sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand for I am not practicing what I would like to do but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the thing I don’t want to do, I agree with the Law confessing that the law is good.“– Romans 7:14
During my sophomore year of college, I went through a season where I was completely overwhelmed with fear. I struggled with a fear of the future and just a general uneasiness of not knowing what I was supposed to do with my life. I felt as though I had gone from being a much too confident young man to experiencing total self-doubt and uncertainty about which direction to take. During that time, my fear even impacted my faith. I became so afraid that I might commit an unforgivable sin, even though I didn’t know what that would be. It was not a happy time.
Then one day, I came to this passage, Romans 7:14. It was as if the Words of God jumped off the page. In Romans, this great man of faith, the Apostle Paul, confesses his struggle with sin, even late in life. After all those years of walking with Jesus Christ, Paul shared his own struggles: I know what I’m supposed to do. I know what I’d like to do, but I keep failing.
I reread the passage over and over. I can’t tell you what strength and encouragement it gave me to learn that the more we grow in Christ, the more we are aware of our sinfulness. It also helped me realize that the further we are from Christ, the less we’re aware of our sinfulness. It finally made sense to me! I realized that recognizing my own weaknesses and sinfulness wasn’t regressing in my relationship with Christ, but growing closer to Him!
It was during that year of college and struggling with all kinds of fears, that God ministered to me very personally. He said, Bryant, whatever you DO, whatever you’ve DONE, and whatever you WILL DO, you are not condemned. I love you. You are my child. That’s the power of God’s grace – His no strings attached offer of forgiveness and mercy through Christ’s death on the cross for our sins. And when we begin to walk with God in faith, He changes our heart. We begin to desire to want to live in a way that is pleasing to God. It frees us from living in fear of messing up or doing something unforgivable, to living in true joy and gratitude for what He has done for us. And that has the power to set us free from fear – which after all, is not fully trusting God. It’s time to let go of your fear and relish in God’s love, no longer defeated by sin!