After the end of World War II, there was an often silent, but ongoing, warfare between the United States and the Soviet Union. At times it became more visible, as during the Cuban missile crisis that threatened nuclear holocaust. Most of the time it was a more subtle warfare of espionage, jockeying for position, influencing public opinion, and recruiting others to one’s side in this conflict. We couldn’t always see it, but it was always there nonetheless.
Every believer is engaged in an ongoing spiritual warfare that takes place within us. Ephesians 4:22-24 identifies the combatants as the “old man” or old nature, and the “new man” or new nature. These two are constantly at odds, seeking to either pull us as believers into some form of sinful activity or pull us toward Christ-honoring conduct. The Apostle Paul acknowledged that he too struggled as this warfare waged within him. He stated, “For what I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Romans 7:15). Every believer can experientially identify with this inner conflict. We want to live apart from sin, as did Paul, but the “… sin [nature] that dwelleth in me” (vs. 17, 20b) is constantly luring us away from the proper path. When believers are in a good place spiritually, they can say with Paul, “…I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (vs. 22). Why, then, if we yearn to live for Christ and do what is pleasing to Him, do we so often fail in sin? Romans 7:23 describes it this way, “But I see another law (or fixed principle) in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” The bad news is that this unseen spiritual conflict will continue within us until the day we go home to be with Christ or until He comes for us in the Rapture. The good news is twofold. One day we will be free of this conflict. The old nature will be eradicated when we are taken to our heavenly home. Then we will live in continual victory. But until then, we have God’s written Word and indwelling Holy Spirit to strengthen our new nature. To the extent we avail ourselves of both, we’ll find victory.
You are not alone in this battle or in failures. Stay homesick for heaven, stay in the Word, and seek to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit.
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