"I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me." Romans 7:21-23 (NLT)
In the past few weeks, I have experienced a rash of trials not only on my behalf, but also sharing the hardships of many others during this time. The number of things happening made me wonder what was going on or if something was in the air. Have you had one of those day(s) or weeks? I know where trials and hardships come from, but to this day, I still think about the “why” behind it all. Why does life have to be such a struggle? When did all of the trouble start? I remember the frustration when I tried to figure this out without the Lord.
In Genesis 3:17, the Lord tells us that as a result of disobedience, God cursed the ground and told man that life will now become a struggle. I thought life was supposed to be wonderful and without struggle like unicorns galloping around with rainbows made of Skittles. I know I’m being silly, but for some reason I was under the impression that everything was supposed to go well. That was foolish thinking on my part, but many live their lives in such a way. I asked myself, "Where in the world did I pick up this type of thinking?" Well I said it, the world. The world sends out this message that you can have Heaven on earth. Not exactly! Sin entered the world and life became hard and forced man to ponder if there is something better, wondering if there is more to life than what we are currently experiencing. We become upset when things don’t happen the way we thought they should. Why? Because we have the wrong mindset.
Proverbs 19:3 says, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD.” Foolishness is a person who is thoughtless, self-centered and indifferent to God.
That brings me to our key scripture, Romans 7:21-23. I think we all have to fight our private battles and some of us don’t even know that we are in a battle. Paul tells us that there’s another power within us that’s at war with our minds. Paul is speaking of the sinful nature; you remember the curse in Genesis 3:17. Paul says this power wants to make you a slave to sin. If you become a slave to sin then sin becomes your master…correct? In Matthew 6:24, God says that "You can’t serve two masters". 1 Peter 1:16 tells us, “Be holy, because I am holy.” I John 3:9 says, "Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them, so they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God."
It comes down to how we live our lives; do we live to satisfy the sinful nature, or do we live to please God? God is not interested in our words, but how we live our lives. He is watching us every day of our lives. "Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature, but those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit." Galatians 6:8
I want to leave you with an excerpt from Jeff Bridges. I think sums it up perfectly. "It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often, we say we are "defeated" by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be good if we stopped using the terms "victory" and "defeat" to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms "obedience" and "disobedience." When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may, in fact, be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey." The Pursuit of Holiness
You have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you and that’s more than enough for this battle.
Posted on Wed, August 1, 2012
by Scott Stevenson