Summary: Who will rescue us from ourselves - from our lives of profound inconsistency.
(Part of this sermon was inspired by a message I read at "30 Minutes One Sunday" - but beyond the initial comments, the remainder of the sermon went in a completely different direction than that which I read!)
Many of us here today have had, or still have, many problems in our lives. We are under constant stress from one thing or another: perhaps we or someone we know and love is extremely ill; or our finances are a bit shaky; or a significant relationship is our life is in turmoil; or we find ourselves stuck in a behavior we know is wrong, but we just can’t seem to shake it; or we are dealing with some other mental, emotional, or spiritual crisis.
It could be any of a thousand and one things that afflict us, but the result is we feel tired; or we find ourselves being angry at other people for almost no reason at all or, even more commonly, we feel unable to think good thoughts or do what we believe are good things.
We are not at peace. Our life is mark by inconsistency. Something is eating away at us.
So what do we do about it?
A lot of people do nothing. They just live in their rut assuming that for some reason the misery they are feeling is somehow meant to be their lot in life.
Then there are those who take a more proactive approach. They believe that they should be more at ease with themselves and with the world around them, so they employ many different strategies in order to “fix” themselves as they address the problems in their life.
In some cases they look for solutions on the shelves of the local library or bookstore – as they read the latest self-help release from the new age gurus.
In other cases they feel that might be able to get a grip on their problems, and find a happier and more fulfilling life by acting on the advice outlined in 30 minutes by one of the pop psychologists on radio or television.
Or perhaps their search for a solution leads them to one of the many means of escapism: too much television, substance abuse, over-eating, or the total immersion of oneself in one’s job.
Yet, despite all their efforts – these same folks find themselves just as tired and unhappy as those who have done nothing. In fact, they typically find themselves even more miserable since the rules and regulations and principles and means of escapism that they employed to help themselves actually require a lot great deal of effort while providing nothing of lasting value in return.
Perhaps, as a last ditch effort, some folks turn toward religion! They turn to the values and principles taught by some pastor, preacher, or Sunday School teacher. They turn to the LAWS and COMMANDMENTS of some religion in an attempt to cope with the problems that beset them.
That’s what Paul did. In the later half of Romans 7 we discover that Paul turned toward RELIGION (with all its rules, rituals, regulations, and requirements), only to discover that religion didn’t work either. Paul discovered that the good that he would like to do he did not do and the bad that he did not want to do he ended up doing anyways.