Moment of Choice

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.
Romans 8:12, NLT*

The 1996 version of the NLT puts it even plainer:

you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

Paul is writing about how those who belong to Jesus are to “no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.” (Romans 8:4b, NLT*) He says we’re free from our old ways. Now we have to choose: will we stick with those destructive patterns, or will we obey the Holy Spirit?

As well as the “big ticket” sins, there are a lot of little things our sinful nature urges us to do: things we either don’t notice as sin or that we think are just part of who we are. Things like grumbling or self-pity.

Even things that aren’t really sin but aren’t good for us. Like that second—or third—chocolate chip cookie when we’re trying to lose weight. Or “just one more chapter” when it’s past bedtime.

you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

We’re told there’s a moment of choice between stimulus and response, but I often respond before I can think. Since finding this verse, I’ve sometimes felt a pause, as if I’ve been pulled aside, and sensed a friendly and confident whisper: “You know, you have no obligation whatsoever to do that.”

Usually I agree. (Sometimes I say “No, but I want to.” Still working on that!)

God of grace and mercy, who ransomed us from sin and makes a way for us to be clean and holy in Your presence, open our eyes to the temptations to be less than You’ve designed us to be. Remind us that because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection we have no obligation whatsoever to do what our sinful natures urge us to do. Give us willing hearts, and help us to choose those things that please You. Thank You for setting us free.

It all comes down to “who’s ruling—God or self?” Here’s Brenton Brown singing “Lord, Reign in Me.”

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “Moment of Choice

  1. Margaret

    And it all boils down to “We love because He first loved us.” We struggle to deal with all these things in a way that pleases our heavenly Father and Savior — just because we know He loves us so dearly and is so good. Have a great day!


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