Everyone has something they struggle with day in and day out. It’s that thing that you know you shouldn’t be doing, but for some reason you do it anyway. Whether it has to do with alcohol, drugs, a short temper, gossip, food, sex, or whatever it is- it’s a constant battle of whether or not you are going to allow that action to continue. Sometimes these are things that we keep hidden, allowing them to fill our souls with an abundance of guilt and shame. Maybe one or two or twenty people know about it, and you’re able to talk about it openly with them, but those feelings still dwell in your heart.
If you are currently battling with something that you know is wrong, I encourage you to keep pressing on. I know there are times when it seems hopeless, but don’t lose hope. I know that there are times when all you want to do in that moment is give in, but choose to hold back. Yes, it is true that we, as humans, are weak. There is proof of that all over the place. The good news is that, if we allow it, the strength of God can and will help us to overcome anything we are facing.
In Romans 7, Paul brilliantly shares his struggle in the flesh.
I love in verse 15 when he says, “For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].
In verse 18 Paul continues by saying, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but not power to carry it out.]
A lot of the time, our intentions are good and we don’t want to be doing whatever that “thing” might be. We know that it is wrong and we want to stop, yet we continue to do it, and we are left in bewilderment and frustration. Many of us, myself included, can relate to Paul.
In Romans 8, Paul goes on to talk about the freedom found in Christ.
In verses 37-39 Paul states, “Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loves us (37). For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers (38). Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (39).”
Yes, at times we will fail. But the best thing to do is continue to try. Continue putting your best foot forward. God hears our heart’s cry and He knows we desire to do good. What Paul said is true: we are more than conquerors through Christ. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is inside of you. Rest in that. Even if you don’t believe it right away, tell yourself that you can change. Tell yourself that every single day and don’t stop. Eventually you will believe it and eventually you will come out on the other side. It doesn’t mean that the temptation won’t still be there. What it means is that, even with the temptation, you will be able to make the right decision. When you consistently and intentionally focus on your relationship with the Lord, that temptation won’t seem as appealing (or worth it) to you anymore. You’ll desire more and more to make better choices. And that desire will become a way of life. Continue to press into God, invest in your relationship with Him, and never give up. Just like Paul, you can come out on the other side.
How awesome is it that something written so long ago is still relevant to us today? What a cool God we serve!