No matter how hard I try, I just can’t help but do the things I do. How about you?
There are a lot of things I just can’t leave well enough alone. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? I’m sure you do. I’m sure you struggle with them just as I do. You know, those sinful things that we just keep going back to… like a dog returning to its vomit (see Proverbs 26:11).
I just can’t help myself when it comes to matters of the flesh and the spirit…. and thank God He knows and understands that part of me… of all of us. Jesus hit the nail on the head when he said;
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” –Matthew 26:41 (NLT)
The Bible has a lot to say about the battle between our spirit and our flesh. Paul says it best in his letter to the Romans;
“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.” –Galatians 5:17 (NLT)
“Our sinful nature” is, of course, “our flesh.” Or to put it another way, “our flesh = our sinful nature.” Paul goes on to say in another letter that;
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” –1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
Unfortunately, I often times forget that fact and find myself looking back after putting my hand to the plow (see Luke 9:62 cf. 2 Tim 4:10; Heb 10:38; James 1:6-8; 2 Peter 2:20-22).
But God is good all the time and he sent his Son to pay the death penalty (utter destruction/obliteration) that the law that requires for everyone who rebels against God. Now that the penalty has been paid for us, we are free to focus on following in the footsteps of God’s Son, the Christ, who is “the author and finisher of our faith”.
Now we can rest assured that though we may stumble and fall from time-to-time, we can freely admit our short-comings to God and each other, without worrying about the fact that we are never going to be able to walk a perfectly straight line on our own. Instead we can (and should) always encourage one another to only stay down long enough to ask for forgiveness, strength and guidance, and then get right back up and “…press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Philippians 3:14; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26).