This past week has seemed like one with looming deadlines. My January 2nd "to do" list was almost two full pages long on my yellow notepad. It was intimidating. It is down to under a page now. I think fear was the driver to get some things done. The list had become so long that I feared it couldn't all possibly be accomplished before my next round of intense travel. I feel better about it today.
Why is it that we (some of us at least) have to be pushed in order to make progress? Shouldn't it be our natural tendency to want to be constantly growing, improving? Instead, we seem to find excuses to not do what we should and to instead do the things we know we shouldn't. We sit in front of the television instead of raking the leaves. Or, we play a game on the computer instead of reading a book. We "settle for" the mediocre when we could be moving toward the great.
I think Paul described it well in Romans Chapter 7.
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.It seems that even Paul knew what he needed to do but found himself doing otherwise. I guess I'm in good company.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[d] a slave to the law of sin.