Sin is a daily struggle for us. Part of the frustration is that it seems to be one or two sinful habits that we just cannot break. We have adopted numerous different plans in an attempt to overcome the sin, yet it is still with us
That is just the overt sin in our lives. The covert sin of attitudes and emotions which brews beneath the surface is even harder to get a handle on. Many of us find ourselves in agreement with the apostle Paul when he wrote; “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24; NLT).
The good news is found in the very next verse; “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin” (Romans 7:25; NLT).
Think about what Paul wrote. In Jesus Christ we have freedom from sin! Not just the consequence of sin, but from sin. The death of Jesus doesn’t just save us from going to hell, but it frees of from the chains of sin as well. That is very good news! This is why Paul could write; “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17; NLT). This new life has already begun, and it is a life which is free from sin.
I know this is hard to believe when sin is still a very big part of our lives. The presence of sin can cause us to doubt our salvation and even God’s very existence. What we have to realize is that while our hearts our new our flesh is still easily influenced by the ways the world.
This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about this subject:
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses (Galatians 5:16-18; NLT).
Paul tells us that there are two forces at work in us: the flesh (a better translation than “the sinful nature”) and the Spirit. This struggle isn’t about our will power and strength but surrendering to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will guide us in our pursuit to become the people God created us to be. He will put us in positions to do good rather than evil.
In future posts I will be delving into practical ways we can surrender our lives to the leading of the Holy Spirit, so right now I want to leave you with the apostle Paul’s words on what a Spirit guided life looks like; “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23; NLT).
We know that we are being guided by the Spirit when these qualities begin to take shape in our lives. We are led away from sin as the Spirit guides to love, joy, peace, and the rest. With the Spirit’s guidance we become people who no longer seek to sin, who no longer need the Law to set moral boundaries, and who seek to do the good works that God planned for us to do. Only through a life guided by the Spirit can we become the people God created us to be.
Questions to Consider:
- Why do you think the flesh has such a strong hold on us?
- Have you ever felt like giving up in your struggle against the flesh and sin?
- What are some things you do to allow the Spirit to guide your life?