Not Doing the Good I Want

Romans 7: 18-23 (NAB):

For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good that I want, but I do the evil that I do not want. Now if I do want I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So then I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Commentary from

This is a classic passage for addicts that tells of how the apostle Paul was ultimately powerless over the sin in his life apart from the power of God. He had the will to do what is right, but at the same time he also had the inclination to do what brought him into the “captivity of sin”. In the facing of our addiction and the taking of our first step, we also become aware of how powerless we are over the sin of our addictive behaviors. We realize that no matter how strongly we might will or want ourselves to be a certain way, to do a certain thing or to not do a certain thing, then we find that we are not able to carry through with that in a consistent manner. We find ourselves back to the same old self-destructive behaviors that we have grown accustomed to, that have become so much a part of our lives. In our “flesh”, we are not able to carry through on staying away from our addictive behaviors, even though we may want to and know at some level how self-destructive they are. We have been powerless over our addictive behaviors and our life has become unmanageable.

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