Galatians 5:16-17 (TLB) I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.
Conflict is a daily pressure in the life of every believer. To oppose our flesh creates war within us. Have you tried dieting or a consistent exercise routine? Or maybe to stop a bad habit? Or simply create a positive life change? I could go on and on with scenarios of change that cause our flesh to rise up and oppose us especially when the change creates discomfort, inconvenience or a loss of control. It is natural. To have feelings and emotions are all part of the package. After all, we are only human right? God is greater than our feelings but must be made master over them for our success.
Before coming to Christ, the inner conflict of mind, will and emotions were easily settled by our flesh. There was but one master. However, the presence of the Holy Spirit causes an uprising. The Holy Spirit instructs, nudges, urges and convicts us to move in a new direction and live a holy life. Our flesh has no time for that. The war within us to meet the expectations of self while pleasing those around us is now complicated with a third set of guidelines and responsibilities. Christ did not come to this world to bring peace but salvation. Salvation will always create a conflict with sin within us. Those who truly seek Jesus as Savior must call Him Lord. The application of grace is not frivolous but rather intentional for change.
For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.
Fighting to live the life of complete freedom in Christ requires winning the inner war raged each day. Peace with God is established at the graveside of our flesh. Sin cannot rule the thoughts and choices of a believer’s life and the Lord be our Master. It is not simple process to be taken lightly but rather a complex undoing of our self to be completely remade in Christ. Our body loves to do the wrong things. It is absolutely comfortable doing just the opposite of what God’s Spirit is instructing. The constant fighting of these two forces to win control is exhausting – it is up to us to empower the winning side with our faith and determination to live a better life. To win the war against our flesh and be made new requires feeding the Spirit and starving our flesh. This is the only way to live a holy existence. To answer the Kingdom calling. It is imperative to stop doing what comes naturally and choose to live supernaturally.
Roman 7:23-25 (TLB) But there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.
Sin comes in the form of rebellion against God and His Way. I wonder if our minds become so stuck on the things society deem wrong that we miss the intricacy of Paul’s statement. Sin is in every attitude and action that is contrary to God’s Divine Direction. This is not only this man’s struggle. It is my struggle. It is your struggle. It is every man and woman of God’s struggle to overcome the old man and fully embrace the new creation promised through Christ. I want to be God’s Willing Servant. That doesn’t mean always doing what I want to do or serving in the place I feel comfortable. Most of the time it is completely outside my comfort zone doing something I don’t really “want” to do. Why? My flesh dies when my life is aligned fully with Jesus Christ. The war inside us is our flesh trying to outlive God in us which is impossible. Our old man has nothing to lose so it is a battle to the finish.
I John 3:19-22 (NLV) This is how we know we are Christians. It will give our heart comfort for sure when we stand before Him. Our heart may say that we have done wrong. But remember, God is greater than our heart. He knows everything. Dear friends, if our heart does not say that we are wrong, we will have no fear as we stand before Him. We will receive from Him whatever we ask if we obey Him and do what He wants.
This is a different translation than I usually use for my Bible Study. However, I love it. This is how we know we are Christians. When our life is not aligned with Jesus, it is easy to allow our confidence in Christ to be shaken. Why? Our heart knows the sin in our life. It is well aware of every shortcoming. It feels every failure. Our feelings can distract us from the Truth. Our emotions can detour our destiny if allowed to have dominion in us. God is greater than our heart. He is greater than our feelings. It really doesn’t matter how I view myself. It doesn’t change God’s Design. It doesn’t diminish His Desire for me. It cannot in any way change or hinder His Plan for me. I must settle the argument within my mind, soul and body with the Lordship of Christ to experience the fullness of His Salvation given by His Grace.
Dear friends, if our heart does not say that we are wrong, we will have no fear as we stand before Him. We will receive from Him whatever we ask if we obey Him and do what He wants.
A heart at peace with God allows faith to grow. It is with a confident heart our emotions are quieted to give way to the Voice of God through His Spirit. My experience is not that of condemnation but a still small voice that leads, guides, instructs and comforts. One that reminds me of God’s Love when I do fail Him each and every day. A companion who encourages me to keep trying when I feel like a fumbling mess. Our flesh does not comfort us but seeks to be soothed. It is peace with God that stretches beyond our understanding to give us safety in every storm and firm footing when our world is so violently shaking. The Holy Spirit hands us faith when our flesh is constantly shoving us fear. Perfect love removes all fear. God’s Love for us is perfect and complete. It is overwhelming and powerful. It is up to us to receive that love completely by resolving the conflicted feelings of a heart divided.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight…
No one can resolve the conflict within a human being except each one for themselves. You know the struggle to believe that exist within just as I do for myself. Trusting the Lord is not some dramatic overture in a hyped church service full of zeal and excitement. It is the beginning of a long journey traveled step by step and breath by breath with our flesh kicking and screaming every step of the way. Those who engage in the process will experience a peace that is beyond all understanding and inexpressible joy. They will receive beauty for ashes, joy for mourning and the Lord will turn their sorrow into dancing. All this belongs to those who have a made up mind and settle heart. One that seeks God’s Face each day rather than cowering in fear. The Lord will take our heart piece by piece. He will take our fears and doubts thought by thought if surrendered to Him. Those who engage in this lifelong pursuit will find beautiful destinations filled with God’s Promises! They will live in peace for the rest of their days!
Isaiah 1:18-19 (TLB) Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich!