15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
I know that I can relate. I have days when I start out with the best intentions but can’t seem to translate it into right thoughts and actions. Or words escape my mouth and I look back later and think, “I can’t believe I said that!”
A war is raging right now- within me- within you- within all of us. Sin wants to destroy, undermine, and distract us from every good thing that God is giving or wants to give.
Elusive contentment- so easy to look at someone else’s life and say, “I don’t know why they can’t be thankful for this season, even if they don’t have a job or things are tight financially, or they are missing their friends” but quite another thing to look at our own lives and address our own discontentment and how it is daily stealing our joy.
So easy to be fixated on the things that we think should be different rather than meditating on the rich blessings that are ours.
We don’t fight for joy- we are delighted when it finds us- but we don’t realize that day to day, moment to moment- in our minds- we are waging a battle. Focus on flesh or focus on God; Live in the Spirit or live in the flesh. Every day we choose, whether we acknowledge it or not.
There is no neutral ground – we can’t be Switzerland. We are either letting our flesh rule or God rules.
There is therefore no condemnation- we are free from the law of sin and death. Jesus Christ has set us free- we are reconciled to God- NOW- past, present, future. We do not pass under condemnation and then out again and then back into condemnation each time we sin.
We are set free. In our freedom though, we must daily choose or it will be chosen for us. Remember- the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. He wants to devour you.
That’s why we need God’s strength to resist temptation. To live through those bad days and to battle with our flesh.
What is our flesh? The part of us that remains that desires to live like there is no God. When we succumb to fleshly desires- we live like God does not exist.
The Holy Spirit is the law within us leading us to choose (our will) the things of God. To acknowledge and cling to God’s promises in the face of temptation.
Remember- as we wrestle with our flesh, God is present with us. He has promised to give us the strength to resist temptation- but this is a work that we do with God- our will must be involved. We must first choose to resist sin before we can be delivered.
We cannot give any quarter to sin. Ignoring it, minimizing it, rationalizing it- all of these things give sin a foothold in our lives and keep us from living fully and free in Christ.
Enthralled with God- to hold captivated, enslaved, captured the fascinated attention of- has God captured you?
Are you standing amazed in the reality of what He has done today?
Romans 6:21- Paul asks- what advantage did you get from the things of which you now are ashamed?
Sin only leads to death- it promises so much- over and over- and consistently fails to deliver.
We were made for more. Oh God, make us hungry for more than living in the moment followed by regret. We want to be free!
Lord God, we worship and adore you. We magnify your Holy Name. For you have set us free from the law of sin and death and made us alive in Christ. We want to die to sin and live in you- to be transformed and made new through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. Hear us O God when we cry Abba! Father! in our distress. Fighting the old habits of sin, the comfort of the known- can sometimes feel insurmountable. Oh Lord bolster us up for the battle as we seek you in Your Word. Keep us grounded in Truth when the enemy seeks to lure us with lies. You are our King- we want You and You alone. All Honor and Glory is Yours- our Rock and Redeemer. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.