Matters of Faith: Is Your Mind Made Up to do the Right Thing



by Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv.


Romans 7:18-19, 24-25 (NKJV)

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

During these holidays where we anxiously await the greatest day in Christendom, the birth of Christ, we graciously share in the season of giving. The giving we do is based on the giving God gave to us when, as John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” We see this as irrefutable evidence that God gave us His very best, His only begotten son, which makes us want to give our very best to our significant other, our children, those we love, to strangers…, to our fellow man.


Based on the gift that has been given to us that we might live, it would seem elementary for those who believe to turn that around and to simply pay it forward. However, in the scripture text, Paul gives some sobering insights into the heart and the mind of humanity. He uses himself as the example and says that even though he knows what he should do, he finds himself doing something else. He’s not talking about random things, he’s talking about good and evil things. He says that the good he would do, he doesn’t do it, and the bad he wouldn’t do, he does that. When you read the chapter, you’ll find that Paul takes an interesting position as he writes about the flaws of humanity and the law of God. You’ll find that he is actually writing about the law of Moses, you know, the Ten Commandments, and the other 603 that were later added. Paul argues that there is nothing wrong with the law; the problem is in his humanity. “14 So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin.


According to Paul, this is not a situation that changes over time. It’s a perpetual state that comes complete with a vicious cycle that continues generation after generation. Verse 13 says, “Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God’s good commands for its own evil purposes (NLT). Paul is saying that it is sin that corrupts us. Since the original decision of Adam and Eve to go against God’s orders, sin now permeates our being and causes us to do wrong when we should do good. Paul argues that sin is inherent in the human condition. We were born in sin; “And in sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:5b, KJV). With that in mind, what compels us and empowers us to get beyond the wrong, beyond the sin and get to what is right, what is just, what is noble, what is honorable, what is pleasing to God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit? Paul describes this condition as being so severe, it’s the equivalent of having a dead body chained to your back. Without the key, not much you can do there. He says that it is so bad that he calls himself a wretched man, one without hope and without any prospect for a future.


Thank God that Paul doesn’t leave us hanging on the limb. He has the answer, an answer that solves not only his, but our temporal challenge and our eternal issue. He writes, “25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”  It took Paul more than a personal determination or even a positive mental attitude. It took the blood of Christ, which was made available only because God gave His only begotten son as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. When we receive the Son, the flesh no longer has dominion over our lives. When we receive the Son, we can make up our minds to give our very best. Just as God the Father gave His very best and Christ the Son gave his very best, we can make up our minds to give our very best. Is your mind made up to do the right thing? Just in case you don’t know what the right thing is, Jesus answered the lawyers question this way, “37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).   


May the Lord bless you real good this Christmas season!!!


God Bless +++
Rev. J. Loren Russell, BS, MDiv is President/CEO of The JLR Company, and an associate minister at both Goodwill and Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio (internet), Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM., or by phone at 626-226-1448.  

Print Friendly, PDF & Email