Do-by-Self Is Done For


Thirty-seven times.

Paul mentions himself 37 times in Romans 7:14-25.

I try, I can’t, I fail, I wish . . . We could join him couldn’t we! And when Paul calls himself wretched, isn’t there a part of us that says, “Oh, yeh!” We know. We’ve been there. We even have shirts with jokes about our failures:

My get up and go got up and went. My wife and I had words last night . . . but I didn’t get to use mine.

It’s not funny, though, not really, to be depressed or to squabble with a spouse. We laugh because it helps us not cry. It helps us feel less wretched.

But the misery will not go away by itself. We look around for a friend to help, and although a friend might listen and sympathize, really, what can another hurting person actually do to change me? We’re all alike, each carrying some type of misery, each wretched in his own way.

We each do things we knew better and never dreamed we would do, and we each carry around fear and painful memories from it. Like Paul.

And like Paul, we each can find the blessed victory he mentions just a line or two after bemoaning his wretchedness:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Romans 8:1

Why does he say that? Because the “flesh” is just another way of saying the soul, the personality. It’s the part of us we know could be good, except it can’t, the part that weighs all the input and decides–decides wrong. It’s me, myself, and I; Mr. Do-by-self. The wretched one.

That guy.

And the solution Paul found?

Christ Jesus. There is something about Him, something in Him, that is our great escape.

And any who actually want to unload their wretchedness need only let go of it, turn their backs on it.

Turn to Him.

Published by Katharine

Katharine is a writer, speaker, women's counselor, and professional mom. Happily married over 50 years to the same gorgeous guy. She loves cooking amazing homegrown food, celebrating grandbabies, her golden-egg-laying hennies, and watching old movies with popcorn. Her writing appears at Medium, Arkansas Women Bloggers, Contently, The Testimony Train, Taste Arkansas, Only in Arkansas, and in several professional magazines and one anthology.

3 thoughts on “Do-by-Self Is Done For

  1. ‘We each do things we knew better and never dreamed we would do, and we each carry around fear and painful memories from it.’ I love this post, my friend! So honest and real. And if I won yesterday, I think it’s because I’ve had a very up close look at my wretchedness and know how often I come up in a sentence. (see – 7 times in 3 sentences)

    1. Ha! Thanks, Debbie, for this point and for your kind opinions. 🙂
      You know, it used to be the height of, um, rudeness or something, to begin a written sentence with the small word “I”. As in using the word “ain’t”. When I was in first grade, eons ago, we little ones thought “ain’t” was a bad word, on a level with cursing. And we were so innocent that we never, ever used it.
      We wanted to be good!
      Then we learned how to hide the truth when we were bad. But because we thought no one knew our faults, we thought we were actually still good. Self righteous, we also deceived ourselves and became toughened to the call to repentance.
      It just keeps going downhill until the contrast becomes too visible and we think of all we threw away, like the Prodigal.

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