So often, I find myself thinking that I’m just not measuring up to what God expects of me and I’m more eager to serve my feelings than just do what I know will be beneficial for me even though doing it requires me to fight my natural emotions and human desires.
It is particularly troublesome when we are known to many people, our friends and family, to be people of God, even leaders among the people of God. Christians who have been charged and summoned by the Spirit of God to lead others in the way of worship, of faith and the walk of love in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The conflict is always there but sometimes it is more intense than at other times. Thank God for His Word that assures me in those times that God is NOT judging me nor is He counting me disqualified for His service because I’m wrestling with the “old man” the old human nature that I had before I was born again to new life by His Spirit.
If you’ve ever felt like you’re just not measuring up or your efforts at living the “holy life” is falling way short, or you find old thoughts, old habits, old patterns of actions creeping into your life when you thought they were long gone, then, you are not alone.
Everyone feels that way from time to time. That is why the Scriptures call us to fight the good fight of faith.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12
It’s ok to wrestle with your natural thoughts and feelings. They have not been regenerated yet. Your spirit has been renewed and that is why there is a war going on. We’re not wrestling with tangible things or with people. That is not the theatre of war where the battle is going on. It’s in our minds.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
Our minds will tend toward the past the old nature more readily than toward the new nature which is in righteousness and holiness. Why? Because that is its nature.
The flesh, the mind and the emotions are still subject to the ways of Adam who fell from the glory he once shared with God when he disobeyed, and as a result introduced sin into his DNA, his human nature and through him, every human being shares in the same disobedience and the curse of sin that resulted from it.
The apostle Paul wrestled with sin just like everyman.
“For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” Romans 7:14-23
But, then he cries out to God in the midst of the struggle, in the depth of his awareness of how far he has fallen from the place of God’s holiness and righteous goodness toward him and in him as a man born again by God’s Spirit.
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh…” Romans 7:24-8:3
Hear that again…”I thank God—(my deliverance comes) through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Who will deliver me? Who will deliver you? Jesus Christ our Lord will deliver us.
Praise God! In Christ Jesus our Lord we have been redeemed from the curse of Adam’s sin and have now received the new nature of Jesus Christ who knew no sin and is righteous forever. Having completed the work of salvation for us He is now seated with the Father in Heavenly places and we are seated together with Him, sharing in that same righteousness.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
So, then we can freely acknowledge that temptations will come, that the old man’s nature may occasionally or frequently try to raise its ugly head and we can be pulled toward the old manner of our lives, but we do not have to succumb to it or be overcome by it, but we can overcome it through Jesus Christ our Lord. And if we fall, if we stumble, if it seems for a time the enemy is gaining the upper hand, we only need to turn our thoughts, our words and our hearts back toward God by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us and declare what God has said concerning us.
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9
The enemy does not win. Never run from God, especially when you have failed to live up to His Word. Always run to Him and He will in no wise cast you out. He will never condemn you, and He will always lift you back up to stand on your feet and run the race that is set before you.
A great destiny awaits us all and God is determined that we will make it. He sent the Holy Spirit to guarantee our future life of holiness, righteousness, peace and joy forever with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit eternally one with our Lord forever.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36