It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. (Romans 7:21-25)
A fact of life...that I want to do what is right...but I choose what is wrong. Sound like anybody else's life story? There is a constant struggle of the 'will', isn't there? We find ourselves pulled this way and that, all the while wanting to go just one way - the right way. We actually hear this still small voice within telling us to do right, but then we listen to the louder voice within (our sinful nature) telling us to do something that will 'please' our sinful nature. The struggle is real, and it is constant for some, infrequent for others.
The multitude of times we have given into our sinful nature is probably too innumerable for any of us to list, but the truth of the matter is that we are likely choosing to respond to our sinful nature less and less the longer we are serving Jesus. How does that happen? There is a subtle, but consistent shift in our focus. We begin to see how much our sinful nature is pulling us 'off-center' in life and we focus more on what will keep us 'on-center'. How? Through prayer, time in the Word, good teaching, and solid relationships that build in accountability.
The one who struggles with these conflicting desires really needs to remember that our freedom isn't a 'wish' or a 'dream' - it is an accomplished fact through Christ Jesus. We are 'set free', not by our own willpower, but by the 'will of God' resident within us in Christ Jesus. That still small voice that is telling us to do 'right' isn't just a whim. It is the very voice of his Spirit within - helping us to choose the things that will honor him, in turn bringing honor to our lives.
Freedom isn't fought for in our own strength or self-effort. It is accomplished in Christ Jesus, but we need to 'enforce' that freedom in our lives. When those taunting and 'pulling' voices want us to go one way, and we clearly hear it is the other way we are to choose, we need to rise up in the power of Christ to resist. That may look a little like us taking a moment to pray because prayer drives back the forces of wickedness. That may take on the form of us recounting a scripture we have read earlier in the day because the Word of God causes the devil to flee. Remember, we are given the tools to overcome sin's pull, we just need to use them when the struggle gets real! Just sayin!
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