When I read the final paragraphs of Romans 7, I imagine paparazzi camped outside my house drooling like hyenas, waiting to pounce on some indecency or incriminating action. The chapter leaves me feeling exposed. It’s like the Holy Spirit simulcasts live feed from my mind to the pages of Scripture. “Next on E! News, the real Ami Atkins. Sweet and gentle on the outside. Savage war raging within.” I don’t do what I want to do. I do do what I don’t want to do. I delight in God, but evil lurks close beside. There’s a war in my mind, and sometimes the enemy holds me captive with his lies. Oddly, these thoughts cause great hope. For in God’s omniscient wisdom, Paul as he was inspired by the Holy Spirit, recorded this very struggle within the infallible Word. It’s like music to my ears. The guy who wrote most of the New Testament and took the gospel to the known world struggled the same way I do. I’m not crazy. Like all believers I’m caught between the already and the not yet. I’m already a new creature, but I am not yet glorified. Sin still wages war in my physical body. I’ve experienced grace upon grace, yet I struggle. Ok, so let me unpack a few reasons to hope. In Christ I am free to struggle. Whereas I could only submit to sin, now I can stand up and fight! Taking that a step further, the presence of my inner battle reaffirms that I truly belong to Jesus. Taking one step more, the raging war in my mind is already won. Christ is already the victor. The one who rescued me once and for all, rescues me from the war within. It reminds me of a song we sing sometimes at worship gathering.
“There’s a peace to settle your soul There is a peace that is calling you home Youʼve been tempted and shaken, tested and failed Youʼve been so far from Jesus, too close to hell Your visionʼs been clouded by this worldʼs delight But I tell you youʼre not of this world so stand up and fight Youʼre not of this world so stand up and fight There is a peace to settle your soul There is a peace that is calling you home There is a peace to settle your soul There is a peace perfect and true The Prince of Peace is calling for you…”
There is a Peace, Sojourn
The Prince of Peace. He is my true delight. In him I stand and face the battle of the “not yet.” In him I find refuge from the war within. So paparazzi, take all the pictures you want. There’s nothing to hide.