Nothing frustrates me more than when I react or respond to a problem or difficult circumstance like the “old Kathy” instead of the “Christ in me, Kathy”! This morning as I sat with the Lord, I spoke with Him about this unending struggle within me...a struggle to fully surrender my sinful opinions and desires and fully embrace Jesus’ pure and sinless ones. I confess I am tired of the struggle and just want Him to “zap” the last remnants of “me” from my life and fill me only with Him...
Instead of giving me the “zap” I requested...the Lord gave me these comforting insights to absorb and encourage me. I pray they will encourage you too...
“My dear child...I know your struggle with sin...and because you believe in Me...I have pardoned and removed each one. I have placed my Spirit within you to be your Helper and Guide for all the days of your life. However... There remains a power of sin in you, although it has been greatly weakened and is kept under my dominion, when I placed in your new-born nature the Holy Spirit which has been infused into your soul. Yet..this sinful nature does not cease to exist... it still lingers within you...”
So there it is... “The Struggle”...
In every Christian believer there are two natures. There is one nature which cannot sin, because it is born of God...a spiritual nature, coming directly from Heaven...pure and perfect. But...there is also in humankind, that ancient nature that came by the fall of Adam in the garden. It is a nature that is sinful, corrupt and full of the devil’s schemes.
Perhaps we judge ourselves and other Christians so harshly when they fail to be pure and perfect, because we do not recognize that in the heart of every Christian there still remains a nature which is sinful and hostile to God’s laws.
We think because we have been reborn that God has or will or should “zap” the sinful nature out of us! But that is not the case...
The Apostle Paul clearly described his own struggle with his new nature in God with that of his ancient one; Romans 7:17-21
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.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. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. ~ Romans 7:17-21
Yikes! Well... let’s not be discouraged... I figure if Job can see that he is vile...and Paul could see “sin living in me”... yet both men did not settle for what their ancient nature defined them to be but accepted what God says about them...than so can I! So can you!
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. ~ Romans 8:1-2
Are there times when you cannot understand your own behavior? You are in good company. But the Christian, having received the new nature, need not and should not give in to the old nature as if he could do nothing about it.
For me... It is good to recognize that I and other Christians have remaining in us our sinful nature that was born in us and has not been removed by our rebirth in Jesus.
Oh...this is not to have permission or an excuse to sin...but to give understanding and compassion... to know how to pray... Seeking God’s mercy and power to forgive and overcome our ancient nature and be transformed, trusting that upon that final day when we breath our last breath of earth...we will soar into that heavenly land into which there shall never enter anything that defiles.
Christian brother, you were chosen to be free. Be careful that you do not please your old selves by sinning because you are free. Live this free life by loving and helping others. 14 You obey the whole Law when you do this one thing, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 15 But if you hurt and make it hard for each other, watch out or you may be destroyed by each other.
16 I say this to you: Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step. Then you will not please your sinful old selves. 17 The things our old selves want to do are against what the Holy Spirit wants. The Holy Spirit does not agree with what our sinful old selves want. These two are against each other. So you cannot do what you want to do. 18 If you let the Holy Spirit lead you, the Law no longer has power over you. 19 The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, 20 worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, 21 wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God. 22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. 24 Those of us who belong to Christ have nailed our sinful old selves on His cross. Our sinful desires are now dead. ~ Galatians 5:13-21