“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 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. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:21-25
Years ago a famous comedian by the name of Flip Wilson had a saying, “the devil made me do it”. It was his way of responding to questionable behavior. There were some truths in his statement but you don’t have to succumb to the urgings of your flesh. But it’s hard especially since it is easier to do the wrong thing rather than what is good. The reason; we were born in sin and must be taught to do right thing, the scripture affirms it; “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).
The Christian life is a struggle. Often seemingly harmless things like, “should I start my diet today”, to running that red light, keeping the extra change the bank teller gave you (surely it was a gift), allowing someone else to take that test for you, taking credit for someone else’s work, lying about your age, misrepresenting the truth, lying in general. Every day is a new challenge when it comes to doing what is right versus doing what is wrong and some of these challenges are subtle. You can be filled with good intentions but somehow you give in to your human instincts. It’s like a game of tug of war, Satan’s on one side and God’s on the other each trying to drag you over the line to provoke you to succumb to their side. But if the Holy Spirit lives in you and you release that power the ability to do what is right gets easier. For “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world 1 John 4:4)”. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 13:10-13).”
Brother’s and Sisters, “the struggle is real”!