THE GREAT DIVIDE BETWEEN WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE WANT TO BE.
*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 I know that nothing good lives 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 what I do is not the good I want to do; no, 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.*
In all of my life I have rarely heard a sermon preached on the
topic of our two natures. I think the reason is that this passage is difficult for even the most learned scholar to understand which is why it is difficult to explain. It is hard to comprehend that we are both fully justified by Christ and yet still remain in these fallen sinful vessels. We all want to be Godly followers of Christ, but our sinful nature leads us to do things that our spirit detests. So we walk around in this world not knowing what it is that we should do because we often desire to do and not do the same thing at the same time and this causes us great frustration. The best way to solve this problem from your perspective is to view your sin nature as a disease that can be managed and overcome but not cured. I struggle with back pain from arthritis but when I take the time to stretch and exercise properly the pain can be managed so I can go about my day. Likewise, if you realize that you are infected by sin and take steps daily to manage your infection by meditating on the word and spending time in prayer, then you can suppress your sin nature by empowering your spirit. Your enemy knows this so he will put up every distraction to keep you from growing closer to God because he would rather attack a weak foe than a strong one.
If you will daily take time and invest in the Lord then he will give you great power and strength to overcome sin in your life. Your nature will still be there, but it will not be the primary driver in your life. In my bible study we were discussing the topic of how to effectively pursue righteousness and we came up with a simple idea that may be beneficial to you. At the end of each day ask yourself if you have invested your time and energy in growing closer to God. You don’t have to be perfect, but if you can answer this question with a yes then you should see growth in your life. My friend Daniel Taylor said “life is a cinch inch by inch” I know this seems simple but if you think about this statement then you realize that great victories rarely happen unless small battles are won first. I have always wanted to overcome many challenges in my life and I was frustrated because I didn’t see immediate progress… but I realized that if I work daily to grow closer to God in 6 months I could see some things change. God can and does bring immediate change at times but he often will move slower than we like because he wants us to learn endurance and patience. I don’t know where you are at right now but if you are a believer, I know you want to grow and I promise you that the more consistent you are with your devotion the more growth you will see.
Don’t forget that God desires that you grow close to him as
well and he is always pursuing you even when you don’t feel it. He is always for you so do not be discouraged when others belittle you or point out those areas in your life that need to change. Accept criticism with humility and your critic’s hearts may change towards you. In conclusion, don’t ever give up hope or quit pursuing God because you have failed in some big ways. Our faith is founded on men and woman who committed some of the worst acts of wickedness you can think of and yet God still showed his grace to them because they repented in humility and choose to press on.
About the Author: I am a Birmingham attorney who has been in private practice for over six years. I have a general practice, so I get the opportunity to help serve people who find themselves in some very difficult circumstances. My e-mail is email@example.com. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it encourages you. I always love getting thoughtful comments, so please email those to me. My website is www.reidlawalabama.com. If you know anyone who is going through a difficult situation whether it be legal or personal and they are in Birmingham area you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our firm works with some excellent faith based counselors, many of whom are free or low cost. A lot of the times the legal issues people face are due to deeper underlying issues like substance abuse and other things. I have found the most effective form of treatment is getting a personally qualified counselor who helps get to the root of the issues someone is dealing with, and we will help people get connected for free (we never take a payment for referral fee for this). Again my website is www.reidlawalabama.com, which contains my contact information. God Bless.