Am I ever really in control of my choices?
Or do I just choose in reaction to my history, or my emotional state, or just that mistaken idea that I am the centre of the universe? It's easy to believe the lie that I choose. That I know the alternatives and possibilities and that I make right choices because I am clear-sighted, wise and perceptive.
Maybe this isn't true for you, but I frequently get confronted with my wrong choices, or realise the oddest things have influened me. Autonomy is a fraught concept because we cannot escape our participation in the network of humanity.
Paul just talked about wanting to do right but failing, not wanting to be false, but doing it anyway. I am caught in his contradiction - my heart longs for right but my nature bends away from it.
And these next few verses in Romans 8 dissect the dilemma. They collect all the forensics and divide us into those on the Spirit's side and those on sin's side. I admit I'm scared. The evidence accruing for me feels equivocal, but Romans 8 doesn't give that option. Listen with me as I try to wrestle with Romans 8:5-8. I'm memorising...
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.