It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-free-here-for-us no longer have to live under continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
Romans 7:21-8:2 (Message Bible)
I really hate being a sinner, but it is something that I am really good at. Some mornings I wake up with just the worst attitude and thoughts. There are things I despise doing, yet I do them anyway. I have prayed over and over for God to take certain temptations away from me, but he does not. It doesn't help that I so easily and willfully give Satan a foothold.
Most temptations are fairly common. I've heard it said that for men, there are essentially three: Money, sex and power. I would guess that women have something similar, but should also add shoes and handbags. All of that being equal, there are also temptations that are unique to the individual.
Talking with some of the guys at Living Waters, sometimes a guy will confess something and I simply can't understand it. It might be a real area of struggle for him, but would never cross my mind. I understand that he/they might feel very well the same about some of my own areas.
One thing I have learned over the years is that Satan loves to reinforce in my mind that these are MY struggles and that I should define myself by them. He wants me to see myself as those struggles. That way I can spend my life kicking myself for all of my stupidity.
I really don't like making the same mistakes over and over,
but I am really good at them.
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next, Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us -- an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we're certainly going to go through the good times with him.
Romans 8:15-17 (Message Bible)
If this is so, then it is worth it all. If it ultimately draws me closer to Jesus, then the pain is completely worth the gain. I am thankful for the struggle.