What is wrong with me, I keep doing the same things over and over?

I don't want to commit suicide, I just want to talk. I know that I have sinned and I know that Jesus died on that cross for me and I know that I believe God as Father and Jesus as my savior. It is just that I keep doing the same thing over and over again. I have the best husband in the world and my children are the best it is me. I keep spending money like it is never going to run out or I get my self into financial jam every thing keeps closing in. At this point I feel that I am an embarrassment to my family. I attend church, I pay my tithes I work on different committee because I like doing. I am not one those Christians that get up say praise the Lord every minute, but I do praise him. I am not one of those Christian that can quote Bible scripture to you but I can just about tell you where to go to find different things in the Bible. Sir I just don't know what is wrong with me. Why is it that I cannot provide that home environment like the way I think it should be? I talk to God every day, maybe I am not listening for the right thing or he is telling me and I am not in spiritual mind I should be in. That is why I sat to this computer calling for help from the Lord in his son name Jesus. I just want to say thanks for letting me e-mail you this. I know you are probably laughing your head off. May God continue to Bless you Always

My response is in Green:

No I did not laugh, see I have been where you are. In fact most Christians have been where you are or they are now where you are. The good news is that there is hope. First let me show you something:

(Romans 7:14-25 NIV) [14] We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. [15] I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. [16] And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. [17] As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. [18] I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. [19] For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
[21] So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. [22] For in my inner being I delight in God's law; [23] but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. [24] What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Now many people misunderstand what Paul is saying. They will say that he is agreeing that a Christian will never be free of sin, but that is not what he is saying. The problem comes when we quit reading at the end of a chapter. Remember that the letter to the Romans was one whole letter, the chapters and verses were put in later to make them easier to read. But before I go to the next chapter, I want to look at what Paul is talking about. He is talking about exactly what you are saying. You want to do good, but you just can't follow through. You hate what you do but yet you keep on doing it.

Okay now let's look at what the answer is.

(Romans 8:1-8 NIV) [1] Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, [2] because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, [4] in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
[5] Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. [6] The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; [7] the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. [8] Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Now Paul tells us that those who are in Christ Jesus are set free from the law of sin. He goes on to say that the sinful mind is hostile to God and it does not submit to God's law. What is going on here, first he says he does not do what he wants to and then he says that we cannot please God if we continue like that. Again you have to take the Bible as a whole and not just stop there. There is hope, but we have to find it. We actually have to go back two chapters to see what the answer is:

(Romans 6:16-18 NIV) [16] Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? [17] But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. [18] You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

What I want you to see here is that we will never be totally free in controlling our lives, we will either be slaves to sin or slaves to righteousness. Now let me ask you a question, don't you feel like a slave to sin? It is something you don't want to do but yet you can't seem to keep from doing it. That is exactly what Paul is trying to convey later in chapter 7. Then in chapter 8 he tells how we can be free. We have to give control to God, complete control. The problem is that people say that they gave their lives to Jesus, but all they did was ask Him to forgive them and then maybe ask Him to help them not to sin anymore. That is great but it won't work, because we are still slaves to sin. The only way to be free from sin is to be a slave to righteousness and the only way to do that is to give God complete control. We can't hold anything back, because when we try to control anything ourselves we are remaining a slave to sin.

I know this might not be making a whole lot of sense yet, but let me try to tie it all together. The way you become a slave to righteousness and free from sin's grip is by giving all control of your life to God. That sounds easy but it is hard to do. We humans want control, we want to decide what is right and what is wrong and just have God help us, but that won't work. We are evil and when we retain any control we remain slaves to sin.

I will tell you what happened in my life and how I obtained freedom. I struggled with sin for a couple of years after I rededicated my life to Christ. Like you I wanted to quit, I wanted to do what was right but I would get carried away and felt like I could not stop my behavior. I would pray and pray and ask God to help me, but nothing happened. One day while I was praying I realized that I could not do this. That sounds stupid I know, but it just came to me that I would never be able to live a holy life on my own. I told God that if He wanted me to live a holy life as His words says I should, then He would have to do it for me because I was not capable of doing it myself. I told Him I was tired of the struggle and I was giving up, and giving control to Him.

It might sound strange, but it was as if a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I felt true rest and peace in my soul for the first time in my life. This is what people used to call sanctification. You don't hear much about it anymore, but God is still sanctifying His people. Many people will tell you that you are sanctified the moment you place your faith in Jesus Christ and that might be true of some people, but not all people. There are some alcoholics, for example, who get up from the alter and never have another drink. There are others who struggle with alcoholism for years. What is the difference? It is not that one was saved and the other not, it is that one was at the point where he was willing to allow God to have complete control right from the start, and the other was not at that point. The one who struggled tried to take control of his life himself and thereby remained a slave to sin, just like you and me.

Let me show you another passage in this same light:

(Matthew 16:24 NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."

You will hear people call all kinds of things their cross. They will say that money problems are their cross to bare, or that some physical ailment is their cross to bare, or that their kids, etc... are their cross to bare. They have it all wrong. When Jesus spoke of the cross His audience would have known exactly what He meant. He meant that we have to die to self and live through Him. The cross was a very cruel form of capital punishment. Jesus was in effect saying, you must take up your gas chamber, your electric chair, your lethal injection table, etc.... and follow me. Again it is the idea that we have to give it all to Him, there is no holding back if we want to follow Him.

From your message I believe you are at the point where you are willing to admit you can't do it on your own, now just give total control to God. Just talk to Him and tell Him that you know you can't do it and you want to be a slave to righteousness. Then just tell Him you want Him to take complete control of your life. It is a daily struggle. Every morning we have to give control to Him or we will find ourselves taking back just a little bit. I won't tell you that I am never tempted anymore, because I still have temptations and some of them are very strong. There is, however, a difference. Before I would feel like I had been carried away on a wave of temptation. Now it is like I see the wave coming and if I am willing to just call out to God and ask Him to take control, the wave passes harmlessly by. When we are a slave to righteousness we are no longer under anyone else's control. We can still choose to sin and we can still put ourselves in positions where sin over takes us, but being a slave to righteousness allows us to make those decisions without being over taken by our evil nature.

Our cry should be the same cry that David voiced in this passage:

(Psalm 51:10 NIV) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Ralph

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