E100: 082 | The War Within

Toy Soldiers (silhouette)
"Today in Galatians chapter 5 verse 16 to chapter 6 verse 10 , there is a fierce battle that takes place within us – between our evil nature and the Holy Spirit. Paul urges us to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives. Only then will we see real fruit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (New Zealand's Rhema Radio)

Read Galatians 5:16-6:10 | (ESV)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus are no longer under God's sentence. I am now controlled by the law of the Holy Spirit. That law gives me life because of what Christ Jesus has done. It has set me free from the law of sin that brings death. (Romans 8:1-2, New International Reader's Version)

Don't live under the control of your sinful nature. If you do, you will think about what your sinful nature wants. Live under the control of the Holy Spirit. If you do, you will think about what the Spirit wants. (Romans 8:5, New International Reader's Version)

The sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That's what makes you do what you don't want to do. (Galatians 5:17-18, New International Reader's Version)
Most people don't even like to use the word "sin". What is sin? Try to answer that for yourself. It is hard to define sin. Probably most of us would be comfortable with the first definition in Webster "an offense against religious or moral law." An Ellison Research study found that 87 percent of American adults believe sin exists. The definition they used in the study was "something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective." But spend any time thinking about this definition and you probably don't get anywhere concrete. If you go a little further in Webster you find sin defined as "an offense, especially against God" and "a weakened state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God". The definition that I like and have heard a few times before is "Sin is anything contrary to God’s will."

Tim Keller, preacher and author, wrote, sin "means self-centeredness, the acorn from which it all grows. Individually, that means 'I live for myself, for my own glory and happiness, and I'll work for your happiness if it helps me.'" Sin is very closely connected to self centeredness. An unhealthy focus on ourselves, our desires, and our comfort, in particular to the exclusion of others, and especially God.

Here is a definition of "sinful nature" that Xenos Christian Fellowship has on their website. "The inherited and deeply ingrained drive to rule our own lives, rebel against God, protect and exalt ourselves, and meet our own needs our own way apart from God."

If I am honest with myself and consciously examine my thoughts over the course of a few days I notice a pattern develop. When my mind is focused on myself, dominated by thoughts relating to my physical comfort like food, money, etc. or feelings like jealousy, hate, anger, judgment, etc. I find that my mind is pulled into more similar thoughts like those. More thoughts about getting in front of someone else, gossiping, or insulting someone else. These thoughts never lead to joy or peace, just more of the same ugliness. Sometimes they seem to begin to dominate to the extent that I feel like a slave to them. Many times the thoughts become actions. Actions I am embarrassed to even admit. If I lined up all of these thoughts and actions one after another I don't think I would even be able to go on. I don't know. It would be ugly.

I sense many times that there is a battle going on between my selfish desires and the Spirit of God. I used to be really discouraged that these thoughts even existed in my mind. Why are they there? I know God, I believe in Christ, these thoughts of selfishness and anger should just disappear. I should be completely free of sin. Right?

As life has gone on and the battle continues I have come to be comforted by some of these verses describing the battle and acknowledging the battle in followers of Christ. Today I am comforted by the simple fact that the battle IS going on. The presence of the battle confirms the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. God is here and giving me the power, strength, and truth to battle on.
Christ lives in you. So your body is dead because of sin. But your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. (New International Reader's Version)
I am working through the E100 Bible Reading Challenge again. You can learn more about my journey and read the other posts completed so far at this link. I encourage you to stop back soon to read another passage.

Please share your own thoughts on this passage in the comment section below or on the Facebook page.

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