Christians are at War Within Themselves
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
(13) You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. (14) For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (15) If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
(16) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(19) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
-Galatians 5:13-26 (NIV)
Before coming to Christ we are dead in our sins. There is nothing good in us. When coming to Christ He gives us a new nature, but the old nature is still with us. So what must we do? We must follow what Galatians says and keep in mind this will be a struggle for the rest of our lives until we receive a new body at the resurrection of the dead.
This passage talks about what a Christian life looks like. One who no longer wants to do the the things of the flesh. Paul would not have written this passage if there were not people doing these things and saying they were Christian. It is one thing to struggle with an area of your life, but it is an entirely different thing to not change the way you are living, because of the change that has been wrought in you by the Holy Spirit, and live in sin openly. That is what some of these people were doing.
We can see the difference between people in this passage, who are not really Christians, and to those who are Christians but are struggling from the following passage from Romans
(21) So I find this law at work: When 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 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. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (25) Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
-Romans 7:21-25 (NIV)
In this passage we can feel Paul’s lament at his own sinful nature. He says he wants to do good, but evil is always right there with us! We delight, as Christians, in God’s law and in His word but we find that we are really wretched beings! Sin is always at work in our beings!
The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is the sense of lament and shame, the inner struggle between delighting in God and His word and succumbing to sin in our lives.
If you are a Christian you know this struggle intimately. So today I ask you to do something, don’t grow weary in well doing. Continue in your struggle for holiness and living the life of Christ out through your life.
How are you today? Have you given up? Maybe now is the time to bend your being to God and ask Him to help you and to forgive you. It is about swallowing your pride before a loving and Holy God. The Choice is Yours.