The magnet of sin

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Bible passage: Romans 7

21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. 24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Augustine

"Close to our vineyard there was a pear tree laden with fruit. This fruit was not enticing, either in appearance or in flavour. We nasty lads went there to shake down the fruit and carry it off at dead of night, after prolonging our games out-of-doors until that late hour according to our abominable custom. We took enormous quantities, not to feast on ourselves but perhaps to throw to the pigs; we did eat a few, but that was not our motive: we derived pleasure from the deed simply because it was forbidden… The malice was loathsome, and I loved it. I was in love with my own ruin, in love with decay: not with the thing for which I was falling into decay but with decay itself."

That is the experience of a sixteen-year-old Augustine, similar to many such events in the lives of youth in any historical and geographical context. There was, however, something special in it to which he returns thirty years later—the ever-present question, "Why did I do it?" Surely not because of hunger or the taste of pears. No, the desire to commit that which is forbidden was the reason. Another question then arises: how is it that evil’s own attraction can lead us astray? To answer such a fundamental question, Augustine writes about the significance of our will and the destructive charm of possessions, earthly distinctions, power, and sovereignty over others. Through the excessive love of such things one abandons things far more valuable and wanders away from the ultimate Good – who is, God.

Augustine helps us to understand how even the smallest events from our lives, if properly assessed, can teach us a great and fundamental lesson about rejecting evil and choosing good.”"

“I cannot make my walk alone, Lord, and I know you are there to take my hand when I need you most. I know you are there to carry me when I cannot go on alone. I ask for that strength now, Lord. I ask for your will and your way. I ask for the strength you had in facing the Enemy in the desert.”