If you're wondering why life is so hard, it's because there's a war that's being waged inside of you.
Read / Listen
Read Romans 7:14-25
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 56
Q. What do you believe
concerning “the forgiveness of sins”?
A. I believe that God,
because of Christ’s atonement,
will never hold against me
any of my sins
nor my sinful nature
which I need to struggle against
all my life.
Rather, in his grace
God grants me
the righteousness of Christ
to free me forever from judgment.
Once you recognize the point of this passage, you will begin to recognize it's literary beauty as well, but it can be really confusing at first. Let's strip away some of the literary beauty and figure out what Paul means here:
v13 - The law helps you recognize sin in your life
v14 - The law is godly, but you are sinful. The result is like oil and water.
v15 - You love God for sure, but yet you still sin against Him, so you often feel awful.
v16 - Even though the law makes you feel guilty, you understand that's a good thing.
v17-18 - You're a new creation in Christ, which causes you to want to do good things, but at the same time, your sinful nature will haunt you and try to keep you from doing what you truly want to do.
v19 - You want to do good but don't, you don't want to sin but do.
v20-23 - Your old sinful nature does everything it can to sabotage you. You have a war constantly being fought inside of you trying to take you a prisoner of sin.
v24 - This war will crush you until you finally are reminded that your salvation does not depend upon your strength, but upon Christ Jesus your Lord.
The difficult thing about the Christian life is that the victory has already been won by Christ, but the battle is not yet over. You have a war that's being fought within you each day, between Sarx (the personification of evil that's always whispering temptations in your ear), and your desire to do what is right that comes from having a regenerated heart that loves God.
While this battle is brutal and unceasing, Romans 7 gives you peace for two reasons.
First, know that you're not the only Christian fighting this battle, and even being occasionally knocked down by it. Even Paul succumbed to Sarx on a daily basis, and so does every other Christian in the world.
Secondly, and most importantly, be reminded that even when you lose the daily battle, the war has already been won by your Savior, who is Jesus Christ our Lord (v25).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father God, who gave us His law as a picture of what His holiness;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God for continuing strength to win the ongoing battle within you so that you might bear fruit for Him (v5, 23).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Romans 9