Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | February 19, 2015

February 19, 2015 “The Struggle”

For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.

 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 17: 15-20, 24-35)

Good Morning Fellow Sojourners! 

Many people, and Christians are no exception to this truth, engage in addictive, often destructive behaviors. In fact, the Enemy, Satan, and his minions, take great delight in enticing us with temptations…forbidden fruits if you will, on a daily basis. This should come as no surprise to us. His tactics have remained unchanged since the Garden of Eden, and are still compellingly effective. The Enemy is a clever foe, subtle and sinister, attacking our vulnerabilities. The most vulnerable part of our three-part nature, soul, spirit, and body, is the mortal flesh, which is where most attacks of the Enemy are manifested. The conduit to the flesh is the mind, and it is there that the Enemy seeks entrance into our heart. Deception is his stock-in-trade. All of fallen humanity is susceptible to these wiles. Even the great Apostle Paul acknowledged this struggle…this great spiritual battle that waged within. Read once again his description of the struggle: For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate….Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? ” 

Sins of the flesh are often addictive as well as destructive. Christian author Edward T. Welch, in his book “Crossroads: A Step By Step Guide Away From Addictions, puts the struggle like this when he writes,

“You do your addiction because you like it. Maybe you want to change, but at the same time, you don’t want to change. You are caught between wanting to trust God and wanting to be God. Acknowledge this and you are walking in the right direction.” 

All sinful behavior finds its roots in the original sin of rebellion against God’s authority. That’s why the Enemy’s tactics have not changed since the Fall. When self becomes “god”, the first commandment of God is violated and sin takes root. But there is a solution which Paul acknowledges and which Welch identifies in his book…confession, repentance, and trust in God. Paul said it like this: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” Victory over the sins of the flesh come through the renewal of the mind. The sins of the flesh no longer hold their destructive power when the mind is attuned to serving God. Paul declared this in Romans 2:12 where he wrote, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” The sins of the flesh are not uncommon, but they need not have dominion over us. Renew your mind. How do you do that?  Paul offers this solution: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). Let’s pray!

Dear Lord, I confess that like Paul, I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ my Lord who bore all my sin on Calvary’s cross, and set me free from sin’s bondage. Renew my mind and my heart each day, O Lord, through Your amazing grace. This I pray in Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen!

 

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