Summary: Explanation of the war that goes on in each of us, and how we can win
The War Within
I want to do more but I do less ... I want to be better and wind up being worse... I want to reach higher but just fall lower.
It is hard for me to picture Paul, the great apostle, writer of half of the New Testament, preacher, missionary, martyr being weak. .. like me .... like you.
But when I read this passage I feel like someone has been eavesdropping on my prayers... reading my diary... reading my mind.
Listen to Galatians 5: 17, "For my sinful nature desires what I know is contrary to what the Spirit would have me to do and what the Spirit wants me to do is contrary to what I want to do."
I am thankful to Paul for being so honest and confessional. It helps me to do the same.
There is no verse in the bible “more true” of me than these in Galatians and Romans.
My problem is not just that I don’t DO what is right, what God wants me to do.
The real problem is that I DON’T EVEN WANT TO!! !
I try to want to, I try to make myself want to ... but the truth is IT IS FOREIGN TO ME.
It never comes easily or naturally ... it is a constant battle.
No wonder I keep on finding myself flat on my back, done it again, and asking for God to help me up, forgive me, and making those promises that He doesn’t believe and I don’t either. .. "I won’t do it again."
Michael Hoyst is another person who has walked in my shoes. He wrote a prayer that is my very favorite.
1 The War Withing Exceeds Human Understanding
Jeremiah says "The heart is deceitful above all things and exceedingly evil beyond anyone’s understanding. " 17: 9
That is true. How many times have you asked yourself the question, "HOW ... how
could I have done it again? How could I be so weak? How could I be so STUPID?
Paul is not claiming ignorance as an excuse ... I didn’t know what I was doing." 7: 15
He knew full well what he was doing. JUST LIKE YOU AND ME!!
We know what we are doing ... we just fail to see it in context. .. that it is contrary to God, that God is standing there calling us away.
We get tunnel vision ... all we see is the thing to be grasped.
We know what we are doing when we reach for it.
Then, later, after the thing is done and Satan leaves, taking his temptation, then we see the situation clearly and we realize our sin ... and THEN we ask. ... HOW ... WHY?????
I echo the words of Paul. .. WHAT A WRETCHED SINNER I AM!
NOT just. ..
What I want vs What God wants
BUT ... What I want vs What I do
It is almost as if some demon takes over my body and I do things I can’t imagine and then he leaves my body and I find that I have done the unthinkable.
But the reality is I DO IT !!!!!
Then I stand back in amazement and ask, "HOW? ... WHY?
The Concession (v. 16)
I have to admit that I know the law, God’s Word and Will, is right.
I don’t even waste time trying to show that the law is flawed or that I am right.
I know that the Word is good and is the way I should live.
The Condition (v. 17)
"It is no longer I who do it but sin living in me."
There is an intruder that lives in each heart ... it is sin, the old nature.
How did it get there?
You inherited it... from Adam.
You have invited it in ... habits, temptations.
You have fed it
You have allowed it to grow and be strengthened and then ... it takes over.
But you are not excused ... you put it there and what it does is your fault.
2. The War Within Exceeds Human Will
The Desire, (v. 18 b)
Wanting to do better is not enough.
I know ... I have begged God with tears and great emotion to deliver me from this body of unrighteousness.
Paul admitted that with all of his heart he truly desired to do better
v. 18b, "For I have the desire to do what is good, BUT I CAN NOT CARRY IT OUT."
Desire does not necessarily equal performance.
The Dilemma, (v. 18a)
"I know that no good thing dwelleth in me."
dwelleth in me = lives permanently in me.
Oh, sure I have times when I want to do good, times when I do good, times when I am controlled by good.