For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  (Romans 7:15 ESV)

I do not do what i want but what i hate showing a man that is frustrated

Romans chapter 7 delves into the struggles, battles, and woes of life in the flesh. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t experienced what Paul describes: doing what one does not want to do, and failing to do what one desires. It’s as though there are two wills, two lives within the same person. What did he mean by this?

If you wonder what this verse means, consider our contemporary lives. Just a few months into the new year, countless resolutions—like eating healthier or reading the Bible daily—have already faltered repeatedly. There was the will to act, but continuing proved challenging. This reality holds true both for our ordinary and spiritual lives.

To understand this enigma, consider three key terms: the flesh, the will, and the power to act. The ‘flesh’ in this context is not your physical body, as often misinterpreted, especially in Pentecostal teachings. Here, ‘flesh’ refers to human nature corrupted by sin, which coexists with our new nature even as we remain in the old body. Although crucified, the flesh is not annihilated—similar to how Satan was destroyed but still exists.

The second term, the will to do good, arises because as a believer, your spirit is born again, fostering a desire to fulfill God’s will and draw closer to Him. This desire is fueled by the Holy Spirit within you.

The challenge begins with the power to execute these desires. You may wish to read the Bible daily to grow closer to God, but find it a monumental challenge to continue to do. Herein lies a critical truth: the flesh lacks both the power and the desire to pursue the things of God. That is why we might stay awake for three hours watching a favorite movie or on social media but start dozing off after just five minutes of prayer.

The power to live the Christian life comes from the Holy Spirit: Christianity is not about human might but about living by the Spirit of the Lord. Thus, depending on whether we live by the flesh or the Spirit, we might find ourselves caught between the desires of the Spirit and the inclinations of the flesh.

Our only escape from this dilemma is to yield to the Spirit and move from the woes of life in the flesh, as described in Romans 7, to the joys of life in the Spirit in Romans 8.


Is there something in your life right now that you do not want to do which you continue to do?

Apply the Word

We cannot tame the flesh. The only way out is to mortify it and live by the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit.


Ask the Holy Spirit to help you surrender your life to His leadership.


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