Read: Romans 7:1-13
Think: One of the earliest Christian authors was St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo of Africa (354 to 430 AD). He became a Christian at the age of 30, after years of living in immorality and following after the popular philosophers of his era. His conversion to Christianity was significant and has resulted in Christian thinking and writing that, throughout history, has greatly influenced the faith of every generation. One of his main teachings related to sin (which Paul discusses at length in Romans 7:1-13). In St. Augustine’s book, Confessions, he tells of a time as a young man when he stole pears from a garden. His reason for stealing the pears? He wrote, “I picked them simply to become a thief.” The result of his sin? He continues, “The desire to steal was awakened simply by the prohibition of stealing.” As one translation of Romans 7 suggests, Paul describes the terrible power of sin saying, “Sin seduced me.” Paul, like St. Augustine, wants to make the reader aware, if he or she isn’t already aware, that sin is not passive. Sin is seductive and deceitful.
Act: Paul appears to over-communicate about sin in the book of Romans. But he doesn’t talk about sin to demoralize or shame us. Paul, like St. Augustine, wants us to be aware of the devastation and power of sin. So rather than ignore or deny its power, Paul suggests that we think about sin as a seductive, powerful personae that lurks in the shadows to deceive and seduce. Take a moment now and personally consider sin, as Paul suggests, as a thief coming into your heart and mind to steal, kill, or destroy (John 10) your faith, your testimony, your progress, your sobriety, or an important relationship. Give this thief (or sin) a name (ex: jealousy, hate, gossip, pride, immorality, etc.) Journal about how you can protect your mind and guard your heart from this specific sin.
Pray: Dear Lord, I surely need your help to identify the sins that capture my eye and my heart. Cause me to call them by names, to identify they way they seduce me. Give me great courage today—and everyday—to turn my eyes and guard my heart from it/them. Forgive me, Lord. Amen.
Be full of faith today!