The Struggle is Real, Not Hopeless
"So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it… I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it." Romans 7:14-17, 19-20 (NLT)
You can totally hear Paul’s frustration over his failure to conquer sin in his life. He almost sounds like Charlie Brown at the end there… “I just can’t do it! AAUGH!!!”
Here is what Paul is saying - I know that sin is real because I am in conflict with it all the time. I am aware of my desires to do good and to do God’s will. But every time I “want to,” the desire “Not to” is also there. A am so human and sin seems to rule my life. I can’t seem to get a handle on it. I am literally torn within myself. How can a sane person want to do right and wrong at the same time? What is going on?
Here is the reality for the Born Again (Jesus Follower) person. When we turned from our own way of life and asked for forgiveness (repentance); and turned to Jesus’ WAY and followed Him (salvation), we received a new heart with new desires. Desires that seek to please Jesus and help others come to know Him too.
Salvation not only provides peace in our lives, but it also causes an inner conflict with our very present and sinful nature, that didn’t go away at salvation. Because of this, our new nature, which now is alive to God, is in conflict with our old decaying nature, which is dead to God. So when we sin, it isn’t our true (Born Again) self that is leading the way, but our old and dead self. We have let sin lead and win.
The Good News is that we aren’t left hopeless and defeated in our struggle with sin. Jesus has truly provided a way for victory, so with Jesus, we can overcome.
Jesus has made us alive to God and provided us with the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to say yes. Yes to God and no to sin. Today when sin creeps your way, stay dead to it. Don't respond to its invitation. Instead, respond to the Spirit's leading because you are alive to God!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that because of your love for me you have forgiven me of my sins and set me free from sin's grasp. Help me to remember this moment by moment and to respond to your leading in my life alone. Amen!