Lord, I hate what I do! What I do I do not want to do. What I want to do I do not do. How can I claim to be your child when this great sin continues to reign in my life? Please do not allow me to slip out of your hand. I need you. Please do not forsake me.
The power of sin is overwhelming, captivating, and crippling. How do we overcome it? How do we know that God will choose not to forsake us because of our sin? Paul was caught up in the same struggle. In Romans 7:14-25 Paul is writing to the people of Rome about this struggle, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
It becomes so easy to get caught up in sin. Afterwards, we regret every moment. We think to ourselves, “Why do I continue to do this? This is not what I want to be known for. This is not the person I want to be.” Then we beg God for His forgiveness, and try to forgive ourselves.
Paul writes, “As it is, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living within me.” If we belong to God, that is we have given our lives to Him through Jesus, it is not us who sin. It is the sin living within us.
How can this be true if we are made new creations in Christ Jesus? Paul continues, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” Some of us have given our lives to Christ, and because of this our mind was renewed and we were made a new creation. We still have to deal with the sinful tendencies of our earthly bodies.
Paul writes that the law at work in the members of his body is waging war against the law in his mind. The sinful nature is waging war against our righteousness. This war is internal, and many times our sinful nature wins over our spiritual nature.
How can we, as children of God, help to conquer the sinful nature of our earthly bodies? Two dogs are fighting each other in the streets. Both dogs have the same master. How will the master ensure that the dog he prizes will win? He will feed it. It is our responsibility to feed our spiritual nature. This will keep it healthy while we starve or carnal, or sinful, nature. This improves our circumstances, but can we ever completely elude sin? No. As long as we are still inside our earthly bodies we will be subject to sin.
“Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul praises God, because of His eternal forgiveness. It is the same with us. When we sin, God is faithful to forgive us of our sins against Him.
It is up to us to wage war against our sinful nature. Our relationship with the God who created us is limited because of our sin. Sometimes we ask why we cannot feel God. One of the reasons might be that we are not waging war against our sinful nature. We tend to use God’s faithfulness to forgive us of our sin as justification to sin. No! Whatever sin we are caught up in, we need to wage war against that. We should wage war against addictions, selfishness, malice, envy, and deceit. We should continue to feed our spiritual nature by praying continuously, learning scripture, and living out the commands given to us in scripture. We should starve our sinful nature by not exposing ourselves regularly to things that glorify the world instead of God. Maybe this means we need to change the music we are listening to, the movies we are watching, the video games we are playing, or the websites we are visiting. If something even slightly pulls our attention away from God, it will only fuel our sinful nature.
Is this war an easy one to fight? No. Living for Christ is not an easy thing to do, but it is worthwhile. It is time for us to step away from simple religion and live in love with Christ every day.