Trapped in the Middle
Bible Reading: Romans 7:18-25
Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7:24-25
Fernando sat on the family-room floor with his nose just a foot from the TV. He had heard that his favorite ballplayer had trusted Christ, and there he was, telling his story. After years of doing drugs after every game and chasing women in every city he played in, he had trusted Jesus. God had set him free from his old life, and he had been a totally different person for more than a year. He felt ready to tell his story to the world.
When you hear how wild ballplayers and drug addicts and prison convicts come to believe in Jesus, you probably figure your story is too boring to interest anyone. After all, you don’t have the gory past of a ballplayer gone bad. You didn’t belong to the Mafia and break the thumbs of hundreds of people.
Actually, not having a gory personal story is a great thing. And you still have an exciting story to tell. Here’s why.
There’s a fact you might not know: Before you trusted Christ, you were a slave. That’s right. You weren’t a bad-news, big-league ballplayer whose life of sin splashed you on the front page of the newspaper. Yet sin held you prisoner. You wanted to speak kindly, but you spewed meanness. You knew you should love, but you showed hate. You were powerless to do good, because badness kept you tied up.
That’s what the Bible means when it says you were the hopeless victim of your “sinful nature.” The apostle Paul described it like this: “Sin rules me as if I were its slave. . . . When I want to do good, evil is there with me” (Romans 7:14, 21, NCV).
And here’s another fact that’s just as true about you: When you trusted Christ, you were freed from slavery. When you came to Jesus, God began a process of changing you. You probably didn’t need to kick cocaine. But have you stopped kicking your sister? You probably didn’t throw baseball bats at umpires. But have you seen an improvement in your bad mouth?
When you know Jesus, sin has lost its grip on you. As Paul said: “You are not ruled by your sinful selves” (Romans 8:9, NCV).
Being freed from sin doesn’t mean you automatically do good but that you become able to do what’s right. You can obey God happily. That’s exciting! And that’s something you can share.
TALK: What would you tell someone who asked you about the pros and cons of being a Christian?
PRAY: God, thanks for bringing us to you. And help us to eagerly share the story of how you set us free.
ACT: Explain to a non-Christian friend what your life is like because Jesus has set you free!