The Battle Within

We have two extreme thoughts that seem to float around the Christian world. One is that a Christian cannot sin; the other is that we are just poor, old, wretched sinners saved by grace.  I know one place that had a pastor that held one of the views and the assistant pastor held the other view. There were some interesting conversations going on there!

The fact of the matter is people do sin, but there is a battle going on within each Christian. The new nature born of an incorruptible seed (Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. -1 Peter 1:23) and that nature cannot sin, but unfortunately we live in a body made of flesh and that old nature just does not die:

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. –Romans 7:17-18

And this causes Paul to cry out and I can almost hear the despair in his voice (I know because it is mine sometimes as well):

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. –Romans 7:19

Paul even realized that the two natures will war with on another but we can have the victory

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. –Romans 7:25

The question is how and I remember reading or hearing a story about a man who became a Christian and the missionary asked him how it was going. He said it was like a fight going on inside of him between a black dog and a white dog. The missionary asked him who won the fight. The man answered: the one I feed.

I don’t want to sound overly simplistic but I find in my life the more time I spend in prayer, studying the Bible (and trying to live its principles. We have a living faith). The more time I spend with God’s people, the less desire I have to sin. Do I still sin? Of course I do, don’t be silly but the difference is I do not want to. If I can relay a story told by that great preacher of yesteryear Charles Spuregon as he was explaining his standard to a lady:

I can play all the cards I want to, I can drink as much as I want to, I can go to the theater as much as I want to, but I do not want to!

The fact that we are sinners does not change till we get rid of the flesh and that is not till we get to heaven so we will be in for a fight and we need to keep the Spirit fed and starve the flesh (not the body, but the human part of us that wants to sin) as we do this we can grow closer to God and lose the desire to sin in part at least for now as a foretaste of what God has for us in glory. In the mean time to keep ourselves fit for use we need to (and I talk as if we really had anything to do with this as God is the one who saves us, gives us His righteousness,  and gives us the ability to do anything good) keep ourselves as close to God as possible. Feed the Spirit with:

  • The Word
  • Prayer
  • Fellowship
  • Worship

Try this diet daily and see what happens to your life. I know it has improved mine.


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