Summary: Each of us has a sinful nature, we simply call it human nature. When we become a follower of Jesus, God places His Holy Spirit in our hearts, and the war begins.
Today is Mother’s Day, so if your mother is still around, I encourage you to tell her how much you love and appreciate her. I recently came across a list of different things our mothers taught us.
1. My mother taught me PRAYER: “You better pray that stain will come out of the carpet.”
2. My mother taught me LOGIC: “Because I said so, that’s why.”
3. My mother taught me FORESIGHT: “Always wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
4. My mother taught me IRONY: “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
5. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS: “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
6. My mother taught about me the CIRCLE OF LIFE: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”
7. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until we get home.”
8. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE: “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they’re going to get stuck that way.”
9. My mother taught me HUMOR: “When that lawnmower cuts off your leg, don’t come running to me.”
10. My mother taught me about JUSTICE: “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
11. BUT MOSTLY…My mother taught me about LOVE…‘Cause that’s what mothers do best!
From 1861 until 1865, America was torn apart by the bloodiest war in our history. We call it the Civil War, but there was nothing civil about it. In fact, the term “civil war” is an oxymoron. The War Between the States was an uncivil war in which over 650,000 Americans were killed. That’s more deaths than World War I and World War II combined (622,000 Americans died in the two world wars). It’s a miracle of God that our nation even survived that terrible war. In this message I want to talk about another war—it’s an inner war, and it’s not very civil either. It’s the war that rages between your two natures. Each of us has a sinful nature, we simply call it human nature. When we become a follower of Jesus, God places His Holy Spirit in our hearts, and the war begins. Our sinful nature is always pushing us toward sin, and the Holy Spirit is prompting us toward holy living.
There are many passages in the Bible that address this inner struggle. Let’s read one of the most important ones found in Galatians 5:16-23:
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Even people who aren’t Christians sometimes struggle with right and wrong. In movies this struggle has often be pictured as a person with a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other soldier. The devil whispers, “Go ahead. Just do it!” The angel counters with, “No, don’t do it!” You don’t have an angel or a devil on your shoulder, but God has equipped each person with a sense of right and wrong. It’s called a conscience. It’s one of the greatest proofs that there is a Creator. How else would we know instinctively that killing another person is wrong unless a higher power placed that instinct in us?
A conscience is like an inner compass that points people toward true North—good. And some people say, “Just let your conscience be your guide.” That’s actually one of the chapters in my book, No! That’s NOT in the Bible. Your conscience can be your guide ONLY if it leads you to Jesus. A compass becomes useless if you put a magnet near it. And a person without Christ has a faulty conscience. That’s why they can get to a point where they sin without any sense of remorse.
But even when you come to Christ, this struggle isn’t over. The difference is we have a supernatural resource to transform our conscience. In this message I want to talk about this inner struggle between right and wrong. Here are three truths that will set you free to have victory in your inner uncivil war.