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Devotionals 2013 - 2019

Good Intentions
March 13, 2013 By Ed Wrather

03.13.13 

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. - Mark 14:38 NKJV. 

For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord! - Romans 7:19-25 NKJV. 

It has been said "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Maybe that is true because it is hard to translate intentions into actions. A Harvard economist, Dr. David Laibson has been doing some behavioral research about how to turn good intentions into actions. Dr. Laibson found that when people were given a choice between eating chocolate or fruit it depended on the time frame as to what they chose. If they had to wait a week to receive the food they would choose the fruit. However, if it was the same day they would usually choose the chocolate. Dr. Laibson stated that: "The problem is the difference between good intentions for the future, and the reward today. If you get the reward today, you give it full weight. A reward in the future gets half the weight." He also found that when working toward a goal you will always be more successful if you start out in the right place. Those people who were signed up for an automatic payroll deduction for a 401(k) savings plan were much more likely to continue than someone who had not actually completed the paperwork for the plan. Dr. Laibson says: "It makes all the difference if you start out in the right place." (Seattle Times 03.04.13; NewsOk.com 03.12.13) 

To most Christians, Dr. Laibson's research findings are obvious. We know how hard it can be at times to turn good intentions into reality. As Jesus said, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The apostle Paul in Romans 7 confesses of the spiritual war that rages within him, and indeed in all Christians. As with Paul, the good that we would do sometimes we do not do. As the apostle puts it, "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." 

In this war with sin, with evil, there are some things that can help us to turn good intentions into spiritual reality. Dr. Laibson's finding, "It makes all the difference if you start out in the right place", is helpful. How do you rid yourself of a habitual sin? Hebrews 12:1 says, "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us...." To start out in the right place with sin, we must lay it aside. The sin must be cut off, and no more provision or thought should be given to fuel the sin (Romans 13:14). 

Jesus gives us more insight into battling this spiritual war by saying to His disciples, "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation...." We should be aware of those things that can cause us to stumble, and we should be praying for the Lord to lead us, not into temptation; but to deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13). 

The most important thing that we need to turn good intentions into reality is not a thing but a person. The apostle Paul comes to this conclusion when he tells us, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Jesus is who we need. As Paul says in Romans 13:14, "...put on the Lord Jesus Christ." Put on the Lord Jesus by spending time with Him in prayer, through reading His Word, by serving Him, and spending time with His followers.


Visitor Comments (1)
just encourage u...
Posted By RAJU11KHARE on May 13, 2014
U r reward is in heaven.
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