Why do I do what I do?
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ~ Romans 7:15-25a
I preached on this passage this past Sunday, July 9th and want to elaborate on a couple of points from it.
Most of the time, when Paul is referring to sin, he isn't talking about our moral lapses or behavioral transgressions. I mean, sometimes he is...
But most of the time, he's referring to the state we live in. A state of disunity - a disunity with God and a disunity with each other. Sin is a breaking of relationship. It's distorting our relationship with God, as well as distorting our own identities as God's beloved children.
In many ways, it is as if we are "Sin" addicts. We just can't help ourselves. And because of that, our only hope is God. Through grace, we are saved.
Groups like AA can demonstrate to us how to live in community with others who are addicts like ourselves. They can show us what it means to be part of a community that supports each other on the road to recovery.
So because of that, I am giving you my version of the twelve steps: the Twelve Steps for Sin Addicts. As you read through these, how do you see these align with what a church community is about? Does any of this resonate with you? How might our worship look with these steps as a guide? What would our confession look like? What would our sending at the end of the service look like?
1. We admitted we were powerless over sin — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I must change, and wisdom to know the difference. Amen