A Contradiction Romans 7:19

The good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practice.—Rom_7:19.

That seems a very odd thing, doesn’t it? Here is a man who doesn’t do what he wants to do, and does do what he dislikes doing, and there is nobody but himself to blame.

But when you come to look at it, is it so odd after all? Do you never do the same? One morning you rise determined that you will get the better of that hasty temper of yours. And before breakfast is over, somebody says something that annoys you; and before you can say “Jack Robinson,” there you are again, blazing away like a furnace. When you cool down, you feel very ashamed and annoyed with yourself, but somehow the day seems spoiled. You did not mean to do it or wish to do it, but—you did it. The evil which you would not, that you practice.

Or another day you resolve that you are going to be kinder, more helpful and obliging. And you start off all right. When your small brother asks you to play with him, you don’t refuse or say, “Oh, bother!” You go and do it although you can’t help thinking it’s a silly game. But later in the day you get engrossed in an exciting book, and when mother asks you to go upstairs for her eyeglasses you take five minutes to get off your chair, and when you do go you groan and grumble like a badly-oiled cart wheel. And when your sister asks you to help her out of a difficulty with a sum, you tell her she can help herself out of her own difficulties! And all the time something is tugging at you uncomfortably inside and telling you, you can do better than that. You see you are like the man in the text again. You want to do well but—you don't. The good which you would you do not.

Now I wonder why this is? Well, it’s just because there are two “yous” within you—the good “you” and the bad “you.” The good “you” means well, but the bad “you” is a traitor and often betrays the good “you.”

Is there any cure for this state of things? Yes, I think there are two cures, but the second is no good whatsoever without the first, so you must be sure to take the first first.

The first cure is to ask Jesus to make you anew and fill you with His Spirit so that you may not only desire good things but be able to do them.

There is a beautiful legend about a wonderful musical instrument which was kept in a baronial castle. It was so complicated that nobody could play upon it, and later it became red with rust and clogged with dust. Many people tried to remove the dust and put it right again, but they all failed because they did not understand it. Then one day the maker of the instrument came. He cleared away the dust and rust and set the strings right, and soon the old castle was filled with the most exquisite music.
That is what Jesus can do with you. You are like a wonderful instrument capable of producing the most beautiful music. But something has gone wrong and you bring forth only discord. When other people try to put you right they only blunder, and when you try to put yourself right you fail miserably. But one day Jesus comes and He understands you. He knows what a splendid instrument you really are and what beautiful music you can produce if you will give yourself into His hands. He alone holds the secret of how it can be done, and if you let Him touch you—instead of discord, there will be melody.

But, second, you must keep on trying. You must not expect that you are to fold your hands and allow everything to be done for you. You have Jesus’ battles to fight as well as your own. That old, bad self will want to get the better of you and you must fight it down. You may not always win, but the great question is, Are you always fighting, or are you giving up?

The natives of Korea have an unusual custom. When they want to do away with a fault, they wait till New Year’s day and then they write the name of the fault on a kite—and let the kite fly away up into the sky.

They imagine that the fault has vanished with the kite.

We can’t get rid of our faults all in one day like that, and perhaps it is better that we can’t. Our hindrances and temptations are meant to make us stronger, and kinder, and braver. We may fail again and again and have to take back our instruments to Jesus many a time to get them retuned. The main thing is to keep on trying. We are sure to win in the end of the day.