Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

WhyWhy do we find ourselves in places we shouldn’t be? Why do we act the way we act in front of people? Why are we not always a light on the side of the hill? Why is our speech not always seasons with salt? Why do we sometimes want the best for ourselves and not for others in Christ? Why do we put on a fake holiness sprinkled with pride-full humility in front of people and then at home act another way? Why?

What I am doing, I do not understand, for I do the very things I hate! Then I read Romans 7, thank you God for Romans 7 and Paul’s struggle with sin. I’m not going to give you an argument on whether Romans 7 is talking about and un-believer or believer because I’m convinced Paul is referring to a mature believer who he calls “I” For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. Romans 7:15

Here’s a mark of a maturing spiritual disciple of Jesus Christ, they have a repentant heart who cries out to God I am not practicing what I would like to do! Now I guess this is a good time to point out if you’re reading this and you are a professing Christian but still loves your sin and claims you’re not really sinning then Romans 7 isn’t for you and you need to pop over to 1 John 1 and take the test whether you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ, because every true believer in Christ recognizes their sin and confesses it 1 John 1:9.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. Romans 7:17. You see there’s a battle that rages in us, one writer puts it this way…

Jesus said“After salvation, sin, like a deposed and exiled ruler, no longer reigns in a person’s life, but it manages to survive. It no longer resides in the innermost self but finds its residual dwelling in his flesh, in the unredeemed humanness that remains until a believer meets the Lord at the Rapture or at death. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” Paul further explained to the Galatians; “for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Gal. 5:17). In this life, Christians are somewhat like an unskilled artist who beholds a beautiful scene that he wants to paint. But his lack of talent prevents him from doing the scene justice. The fault is not in the scene, or in the canvas, the brushes, or the paint but in the painter. That is why we need to ask the master painter, Jesus Christ, to place His hand over ours in order to paint the strokes that, independent of Him, we could never produce. Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).”  Romans: TMNTC

Good_asPaul says “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” It’s not that we don’t do good as Christians, because I would guess most Christians reading this will say I do things that are good and pleasing to the Lord and that glorify Him, but there is a battle raging in me, because sometimes the good that I want to do, I do not, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18,19 and 20. Paul says then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.

I mean don’t we always want to do good, and are we not capable of doing good? Then boom it happens and we do the very things we hate. Because we are not perfect and we are unable to live perfect lives as Paul said to the church at Philippi, but we press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12, 13 and 14. Robert Murray McCheyne said “for every look we take at ourselves, we should take ten looks at Christ.”

The more we mature as Christian the more we will recognize the sin in our lives and we will grieve over it and confess it like David in Psalm 32 and 51 and 1 John 1:9. So Paul cries out… Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24, 25

work_outJust as we should be, Paul is frustrated with his inability to obey God and His law, he shouts out our deliverer Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So what now? Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Galatians 5:16 Romans 13:14. You continually renew your mind… Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1, 2. If you are thinking you have no part at all in your walk with Christ, just let go and let God you will be sadly mistaking, we are called to work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12, 13.

God’s Holy Spirit and grace is where we get the strength for holiness as one writer rightly says “Grace does not grant permission to live in the flesh; it supplies power to live in the Spirit”. It was Augustine who said “For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them..” And by His grace we do what is right in His word and not what seems right in our own eyes (Judges 21:25) for He is our strength, our King and our Lord. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1.

Keep yourself in the word of God, read it, study it and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.

Thanks be to God through
Jesus Christ our Lord!

and that’s a beautiful thing!
Soli Deo Gloria




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8 Responses to Why Do We Do The Things We Do?

  1. Kurt

    Thanks for the article Lenny. The challenge to “keep in step with the Spirit” is always a good one to embrace.
    It’s also encouraging to know that Paul himself was probably wrestling with this “doing what I do not want to do” issue – yet, he saw the power of the Spirit of Christ as the answer.
    Have a great day.


  2. Yep.

    We are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We actually need a Savior.

    We might be able to conquer a particular sin here and there, but we have many that hang on for a lifetime. Sin’s’ are the symptom. ‘Sin’ is the condition.


  3. Judy

    This article encouraged me greatly.
    Sometimes when I do something in the flesh i.e.,sin—-, immediately after I do it, —- it’s like I’m standing outside my physical body, looking at myself with disgust and wondering “What the heck just happened?” Often I shake my head and can not believe I was so stupid, mean or inconsiderate…. It’s like somebody “other” than I did the nasty deed. This article clearly articulated that it truly “was somebody else” , but I need not feel condemned—- as a beloved child of Christ.
    Good to know that until Christ comes again, every time this happens I safely and completely belong to a Savior Who continually cleanses me upon repenting and redirects my path…until the next time……… And even then! He gives me grace, grace and more grace to change my behavior and ME ———slowly but surely—- into His image.

    Lenny–the analogy of the “unskilled artist” you mentioned above–I wasn’t sure who said that–I noticed after Romans–you you wrote the initials TMNTC–What do they mean? Anyway, can you clear this point up for me–the analogy was brilliant.

    Also–I go to a large Woman’s Bible Study at Park Street Church here in Boston…I checked with the leader, and subsequently you will hopefully soon have between 15 and 25 women — newly subscribing to your blog. I gave your site–(and you as the author and editor) ——my enthusiastic stamp of approval.



  4. Amen!
    Thank you Lenny.

  5. Bill Thank you my friend!

  6. Judy thank You for your kind words… Those initials TMNTC are The MacArthur New Testament Commentary

  7. Steve, True everything you said, but we as Paul told the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:34) must try to stop sinning and walk by the spirit and thats a life long battle isn’t it? not by our doing but His.

  8. Kurt thank you very much for the comment!

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