“I have discovered this principle in life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another law within me that is at war with my mind. This law makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 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. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the law of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the law of sin that leads to death.” — Romans 7:21 – 8:2
The scene is all-to-familiar: it’s Sunday morning and people begin to trickle in to the house of God. Their dress is crisp and clean, their demeanor is guarded and flavored with a tinge of “positivity.” Every effort is made to communicate a life that is under control and above the madness.
Below the surface, in most lives, there is a war that is raging. The battles of the previous week have left their carnage. Wounds and scars are carefully hidden by a pious outer shell.
As the meeting begins, no one is talking about the “3,000 pound elephant in the room.” The war within has worn on the hearts of those who desperately long for freedom and victory. Some are asking themselves, “Does this Christianity stuff really work? Why haven’t I been able to overcome this sin in my life?
A great tragedy further unfolds. We seemingly have no one to share our war with. “How could I tell these folks of my struggles?” we think. “They would never understand what I am going through. What would they think of me?” And so, we struggle on…alone.
Paul’s courageous transparency with the Roman Christians reveal the struggles that are common to all of us. He called it a “principle.” He said, “when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.” Can you identify with Paul? I can.
Paul did not wallow in the war, but instead he pressed on for the winning answer. He said, “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus is the answer for the war within. As the Prince of Peace, it is He alone who can bring peace into our lives.
We can struggle on alone in this war within, or we can surrender our life, our will, our all to Him and find the victory that Paul encountered. Paul said, “So now there is no condemnation for those who BELONG TO CHRIST JESUS.” (emphasis mine)
How heartbreaking it must be to the Father to witness our feeble and failed struggles and attempts to win this war within! How beautifully simple the remedy! Will we struggle on or will we surrender all?
The glory of God in and through our lives is at stake in this war. Whose banner will take the field? My losses will be consistent, His victories are certain! Lord Jesus, I yield to you, willingly, lovingly, completely…