"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5)
Do you ever find yourself in a situation in which you are very likely (and do!) make mistakes? It’s not as if we are deliberately choosing to go down the path of disobedience, or consciously making poor judgment, but maybe we don’t try hard enough to avoid it either! Every Christian wants nothing more than to behave and conduct their manner similar to the way Jesus behaved. Unfortunately we are not free from the internal struggle and temptation of sin. Our flesh continues to serve sin, while the Spirit desires to serve uprightness; they are at constant war with one another tempting us to ask the question “do I give in to the flesh or the spirit; who wins this battle”? One thing I am sure we have all learned is that we must never underestimate the power of sin or attempt to fight it in our own strength. And the good news is that God does provide a way out so that we can stand up under it!
There are many times we can probably relate to Paul’s anguish and frustration of his personal struggle to defeat the sin of the flesh demonstrated in Roman’s chapter 7…
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (vs 15)
Regret…there will be many times that we will look back and wish we had done things differently, but we must seek forgiveness and not let it stop us from moving forward. Mistakes are bad enough on their own; there is no need to multiply the damage by dwelling or holding on to them. `
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” (vs 18)
We are desperate Christians who desire to please God, but our body seems to have a mind of its own. Thankfully God never demands perfection, but to those of us who are willing to admit that the sinful flesh is always with us and wants to control us, He will give us the grace, through faith, to defeat sin.
“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (vs19)
We have an amazing ability to make excuses, but we are all responsible for our own actions! And we do have the ability to reach out to God for victory over sin rather than trying to overcome it on our own.
“Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (vs 29)
And so begins the internal struggle! We want to do good, but the flesh continues to serve sin. However the best we can do with the sin that dwells within us it to confess and learn from it, rather than justifying it and continuing to do it. We must realize that we are forgiven, and move on to a faithful life of obedience.
It’s all too easy to feel defeated and let our mistakes haunt us, but we should not become preoccupied with the past and let it cripple us. We have a choice; obey the old nature which is in the flesh, or obey our new nature which is in unity with the Spirit within us. The choice we make is the key to our relationship with God.
"God gave us the law because He knows that the bad news of our terminal condition leads us to the good news: it's treatable; there's a cure. Best of all, the cure is 100 percent free! Small wonder it's called "good news". (Charles Swindoll)
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