To say that I have been rocked to my core this week would be an understatement. I have been humbled under my own sin. Writing this is not going to be easy on my pride but I am praying it will be healing for my soul.
Most of you who know me know I am overall a God-fearing woman. I was fortunately raised with parents that kept me in Church, prayers before bed and reminders to open up my Bible. For the most part I was a pretty good kid/teenager. Stayed away from sex, drugs and rock n roll. What I didn’t realize was that sin isn’t always so apparent. I thought that if I made my appearances look nice and neat and steered clear of the obvious sins then I would be all right. Then God smacked me over the head (in a loving way, of course) I am at the moment dealing with some of the worst pain I have ever felt, and have no one to blame but myself. I held something in from the most important person in my life, afraid to hurt them and myself. For so long I thought “what you don’t know won’t kill you” mentality. Until God tore the veil from my eyes and reminded me sin doesn’t always have to be so blatant. I am sharing this with you understanding that some of you will share in the struggle, knowing that none of us can fight sin on our own power, only under the authority of Jesus Christ.
Often when we think of characters in the Bible that were of sinful nature, Saul can be one of them, but Saul isn’t my focus, Paul, the reformed sinner is. Paul became one of the greatest warriors for Christ, proclaiming His name across nations, along with multiple imprisonments for Christ, one of the greatest leaders of our foundation. Yet, he struggled with sin just as I do.
Romans 7:14 “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 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.[c] 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[d] a slave to the law of sin.”
Can I get an amen? I wonder how often I do things that I do and wonder “WHY” I know this is wrong, I know I need to step out on faith instead of fall into the ways of the world, but constantly find myself in this battle. Amazing to think that Paul, one of the greatest leaders in our faith struggled with sin the way we do. Being born again takes the step of faith, but becoming Christ like is a continuous process. So, what has gone wrong? Paul’s explanation is, “It is no longer I who do it; it is sin living in me.” Strange? There is a division within here. There is the “I” that wants to do what God wants, and there is the sin which dwells in “me,” which is different than the “I.” We as humans are extremely complicated. We have within us a spirit, a soul, and a body. These are distinct, one from the other. What Paul is suggesting here is that the redeemed spirit never wants to do what God has prohibited and agrees the Law that it is good. And yet there is an foreign power, a force that he calls sin, a great beast that is lying still within us (literally crouching at the door, waiting to take us over, Genesis 4:7) that springs to life, and we do what we do not want to do.
I think so often we underestimate the power of sin, Satan and what the world tells us is ok. I have tried for so long to fight against that with my own strength, which only gives me an amazing ability to cover up with excuses. Instead of trying to overcome sin with our own control, we must take hold of Gods provision for victory over sin. He has already overcome, He has already conquered. (John 16:33) Why do I always try and fight a battle that has already been won?
I want that freedom from fear, self-centeredness, bitterness, anxiety, and that freedom can only be found in Christ. We think we have got life under control — and we are fooled. All sin is waiting for is the right occasion when, like a powerful idling engine, it roars into life and takes over at the touch of the accelerator and we find ourselves helplessly under its control.
It’s time to take dramatic action against the power of sin within me. Jesus himself says, “If your right hand offends you, cut it off,” (Matthew 5:30). and I don’t think He meant that you should literally chop off your hand, What he means is that we should take drastic action because we are up against a serious problem. He indicates that there is a battle within us between our sinful nature and the Spirit that runs our members, that gives orders to our hands and our feet and our eyes and our tongue and our brain, and controls them.. That is the way man is made. Our will power is never enough; sin will win, and we will do the evil that we swore not to do.
You want to do right and determine to do right, knowing what it is and swearing to do it, only to find that under certain circumstances all that determination melts away and you do not do what is right. You do exactly what you did not want to do. So you come away angry with yourself. “What’s wrong with me? Why do I always mess up? Why can’t I do right? Why am I so weak?” This is right where we live, isn’t it? This is what we all struggle with. The cry of the heart at that moment is “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)
One answer: Christ. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” (Matthew 5:3). Blessed is the man who comes to the end of himself. Blessed is the man who has arrived at spiritual bankruptcy. Because this is the point — the only point — where God’s help is given.
If we think that we have got something in ourselves that we can work out our problems with, if we think that our wills are strong enough, our desires motivated enough, that we can control evil in our lives by simply determining to do so, then we have not come to the end of ourselves yet. And the Spirit of God waits patiently and lets us go ahead and try it on that basis. And we fail, and fail miserably — until, at last, out of our failures, we cry, “O wretched man that I am!” Sin has deceived us, and the Law, as our friend, has come in and exposed sin for what it is. When we see how wretched it makes us, then we are ready for the answer, which comes immediately, the only answer there is.. Christ.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry a heavy burden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, let me teach you because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your sould. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give you is light” Jesus is the only one that can free us from all the burdens. He promises love, healing and peace with God.