THE INWARD STRUGGLE

Scripture Reading:  Romans 7:14-25

“For I delight in the law of God with 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.”  (Romans 7:22)

We can all relate to the inward struggle that Paul wrote about in they passage.  We delight in God’s law, for it is His will for us.  Yet, we struggle to submit to it at times.  Paul said, “I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (v. 16).  He actually called this struggle a “raging war.”  Don’t you know what Paul was feeling?  He wanted to honor and obey God.  In his spirit he delighted in God’s will for his life; but he struggled at times to do it.  He is confused — “I do not understand my own actions.”

I often feel this way.  Why is it so easy to fall into sin.  Why don’t I do what I know is the right thing to do?  “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (v. 19).  Why is this?

Paul answers the question — “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” (v. 18).  The reason I struggle to obey God is because of my sinful nature, which the Bible calls “the flesh.”  “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (v. 21).

We constantly face the inward struggle of the flesh and the Spirit — “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:17).  

The first step in dealing the this waging war inside of us is to recognize the reality of it.  Even after our conversion, we still have a remnant of the old nature left.  But we have the Spirit of God inside of us as well.  Most of the eighth chapter of Romans is about the indwelling Spirit.  We have to learn to practice the presence of the Spirit and to know how to appropriate His power in our lives to resist the sinful nature that lurks within us.

Lord God, I confess that I struggle with sin in my life.  I know that there is a war waging within me  — the flesh against the Spirit.  Forgive me when I yield to the flesh and ignore the presence and power of Your Spirit.

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