Thursday, April 17, 2014

The War Within

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  Romans 7:18-19

Easter is fast approaching and Brother Van’s sermon title is “No Greater Love”.  There is absolutely no greater love than that which God has for man.  We are so underserving and sometimes so ungrateful yet He loves anyway.  He gave His life for us, gave His Son for us, all because He wanted to make a way for you and me to know Him.  If you think about it, all the sins we have committed against a specific person at one time or another, every one of those sins has also been committed against God.  No one person we have wronged has more reason to not forgive us than God.  Yet He sent His only son to die for us, in spite of how we hurt Him; and every time we hurt Him again we only have to go to the cross and in that shadow we will find forgiveness, freedom, and open arms. 

Sometimes we don’t realize what special gifts we have been given, especially the gift God gave us on the cross.  The verse above is such a great description of the inner war that we fight every day.  We are human and God understands this.  He knows we will fall sometimes and that is why He provided a way for our atonement.  However, He still desires for us to choose Him every day.  Sin does not flee and Satan does not agree to leave us alone at the altar when we give our lives to Christ.  He wants us to fail and not be effective for the Kingdom of God.  He wants us to be a stumbling block for others, to keep someone from giving their life to Christ. 

It is true that when we are saved, old things are passed away and all things become new.  We are resurrected in Christ with a new life, but our bodies are still human bodies and we have weaknesses.  Many of us struggle with a specific weakness. Just because you are a Christian, it does not exempt you from the powerful draw of sin.  Satan knows your weakness and he will capitalize on that fact.  We all do things we know are wrong and we shouldn’t do them, but when we are involved in a perpetual cycle of sinful behavior, we remain in the conflict that Paul speaks of above.  We do what we don’t want to do and we do not do what we want to do.  We want to do good, but we choose sin and this creates conflict in our hearts and steals our peace and freedom.  When we allow sin in our lives, there is no rest or confidence in what Christ did on the cross because we are miserable.  We cannot reap the full benefit of the great gift that God has given us. 

The Bible tells us in Romans 6:12-13 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  Sin can have a powerful grip but God has provided a way for us.  Through His power we can choose every single day to not allow sin into our lives to cause this raging conflict inside our hearts.  It is a choice that must be made every day; sometimes more than once a day.  You belong to God and sin is no longer your master.  Now you live under grace. 

Both of these natures cannot co-exist inside our hearts without misery; one will prevail.  Galatians 5:16-17 says But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.  The nature you feed is the one that will prevail.  Be deliberate in walking in the Spirit so that you strengthen that nature and do not feed the sinful nature.  It is there inside all of us but God gave us the gift of salvation, freedom from sin and grace and mercy when we do make the wrong choice.  This Easter I am grateful that He loved me enough to die for me, to take my place and the punishment for my sins, regardless of the many times I have not chosen Him.

Scripture to Claim:
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40

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