Today’s post was prompted by a moment I had with my son Paul a few days ago. I was putting him to bed, and as he often does, asks deep (for a four year old) and sometimes funny questions and talks about things that you can tell have been on his mind right before he drifts off to sleep.
As we were laying there, he said, “Mom, I know I’m not supposed to stick up my middle finger, but sometimes I want to! I don’t know why, and I know it’s wrong, but I WANT to sometimes.” (I felt for him!) He processed these conflicting feelings for a couple of minutes, trying to work out this mini-war inside of him.
I knew exactly what he was talking about! (OK, not necessarily the struggle he was describing, but the general tension between the desire to do what I want and do what I should.) Can’t we all relate to this?
Another Paul (the Apostle) so perfectly describes this struggle in the passage below:
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:14-25 (NIV)
All of us are sinners, from the young to the old. Not one of us is spared this conflict within! But, there is great hope for all, friends. Check out what verses 24-25 say: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
What joy there is knowing that God can rescue you and me from ourselves!
As I tried to break this down to Paul on a level he may understand, we talked about how God can help us even in the times when we desire something that is not good. He is our rescuer!
As we address this war within, remember that God loves you and wants us to keep His Word in our hearts that we may not sin against Him.
Pray and ask God to give you the strength to be delivered throughout today from this war. Praise Him that He is faithful and just and will deliver us from our struggles.