Why Did I Do That?

I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.

— Romans 7:15

Yes, you did it. That thing you promised yourself you wouldn’t do anymore: cheat on your diet, call that no-good man, snap on your kids, slack on your prayer life, etc., etc., etc. Regardless of what it is, we all have a thing or several things we know we shouldn’t indulge in, but find ourselves slipping into anyway. At some point on our Christian journey, we will make mistakes or just outright choose to do the wrong thing. Sometimes we allow the heat of our emotions to dictate our behavior, which will certainly lead to trouble.

Falling into old behavior patterns doesn’t make you a terrible Christian or a bad person – just an undisciplined one. Discipline of the flesh and mind takes more time to develop than ‘churchfolk’ allow. Sometimes you ‘live right’ for long periods of time, then boom – all of a sudden – you experience a relapse. Why? You thought you were past all that and well on your way to glory.

Well, the great Apostle Paul asked the same question, and his answer still applies to us today. Jesus! Jesus is the answer. Only faith in Jesus, the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit can quell the inner turmoil of the flesh and the spirit. In the book of Romans, after he illustrates our freedom from the law and sin, Paul turns around and admits that the temptation of the flesh still makes him do stuff he doesn’t want to do—every now and then. In case you don’t have a Bible handy, I will quote that entire passage from Romans 7:14-25:

“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”

As long as we live, we will contend with our earthly desires and appetites. However, Christian living is all about overcoming those things that make us stray from the truth. Through Christ, obtaining victory over the flesh and the power of this world is possible for those who stay the course, and remain consistent in their relationship with God.

If we want to grow past our wrong decisions and behaviors, we must forget the past, and press on toward the future, knowing that we will eventually achieve the reward of a righteous, victorious life. Let’s remember the words of Paul who well understood the struggle between the pleasures of the world and the Christian’s commitment to God:

“I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above” (Philippians 3:12-14).


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Ashan R. Hampton is the author of several Christian inspirational books: “Prayers & Confessions for Modern Christian Women” (2020), “Still Single Over 40: Reclaim Your Love Life” (2019), “Prayers & Confessions for Teens and Young Adults” (2018), “MCW Living Single Bible Readings” (2017), “Prayers & Confessions for Everyday Victory” (2017), “Before You Start Dating Again” (2016), “Some Bitter, Some Sweet: Becoming a Single Woman God Can Use” (2016), “Soul Thoughts: Poems & Essays” (2015), “Girl Please…Know When to Let That Man Go” (2015). Visit our website for ordering information at www.mcwwisdom.com/books.


© 2016-2021 by Ashan R. Hampton, Modern Christian Women (of Color). All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY 4.0 license. When sharing this content you must agree to: 1. Give credit to the creator: Ashan R. Hampton of Modern Christian Women of Color on YouTube and the website www.mcwwisdom.com. 2. Only use this work for noncommercial purposes. 3. Do not use this work to adapt, remix, embed, or derive another work based on the material on this website.

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