Read: Romans 7:7-12
I didn’t want it. Until I wasn’t allowed to have it. Then, I had to have it. When I was a young child, there was one show my parents prohibited me from watching: Kim Possible. My mom disagreed with its portrayal of the characters. Now, this show wasn’t my favorite, nor did I actually watch it all that often. Yet somehow, once my mom made the rule, it ignited something strange in me. I started to really desire to watch that show. It was a craving that came from the fact that it was not permitted. So, of course, I started watching the show when my parents weren’t around.
Later in middle school, I was in a study hall with a group of friends. We sometimes played cards when we were bored with homework. One day, after our game had gotten out of control, our teacher banned us from playing cards again. Even though we had many other options (like computer games, books, or actual homework), suddenly playing cards seemed like the best idea and the only thing we wanted to do. We started playing cards every day, hiding until we were caught and got punished.
Maybe you’ve experienced a similar desire to break the rules. Maybe you ignored boundaries from your parents as a kid, just because they existed. Or maybe, you just can’t fight the urge to go through doors that say, “Do not enter,” or touch roped-off artifacts in museums. Perhaps rules generally make you feel constricted. Deep down, all of us face this problem: the law reveals our intrinsic nature to want to rebel against what is holy.
Paul explains this concept to us in Romans 7:7-12. He asserts that the law itself is not sin, but its presence reveals sin. Paul explains that in his own life, he saw an opportunity to rebel against God’s commands and took it. He says “sin sprang to life and I died.” What was intended to be a blessing (the law) resulted in evil due to his sinful nature. The same is true for us. We are all deceived, and instead of believing that the law is good, we choose to disobey.
Throughout this week, we have looked at how our sinful nature defies laws and tries to enslave us. The law, however, is holy. It shows us the way that God intends us to live. We don’t live under the law because of grace, but the law still serves a purpose in our lives. It shows us how we do not meet God’s standards, and reveals our need for grace. Our natural inclination to rebel against rules makes us aware of the forgiveness we need. What a gift, that God would tell us our flaws so that we might confess them and receive His grace!
Today, pause and think hard about the areas in your life where you aren’t in line with what the Lord wants for you. Ask God to transform your heart into what He desires. And, thank God for the gift of His law, that shows us our need for His grace.