The War Within (Part 1 of 2)
The War Within (Part 1 of 2)
One of the topics that causes much confusion and debate among Christian is trying to understand how we can be indwelled with the Holy Spirit of God but still struggle with sinful desires.
The Bible is clear that when we become a Christian, we are made into a new creation:
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
But we are also told that as Christians, we still struggle with the sin nature:
- Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
However, the Bible is not contradicting itself! Here is one of the verses that helps us better understand the whole truth:
- Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
From these three verses (and the entirety of scripture), we get a clear understanding of the battle that rages inside every Christian. Here are some key points:
In the context of this discussion:
- Spirit means our nonphysical essence, our heart and soul, created and given by God (see Genesis 2:7)
- Flesh refers to a person’s sinful desires, passions and hungers. These longings result from our sin nature, residing in a fallen world and temptation from Satan (see Galatians 5:19-21).
When we are spiritually reborn (saved, born again, converted ...) we are permanently indwelled with the Holy Spirit (see John 14:16, 23). And as 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us (above), we are given a new nature. It is important to understand that this verse is telling us that we are given a new spiritual nature. At our very core, we now long to know God, to please Him, to seek Him and to love Him. In spirit, we become one with God (see John 17:20-21).
Yet in His infinite wisdom and love for us, as Paul tells us in Romans 7:18 (above), God has not removed from His children the struggles with the flesh. Even with the Spirit of God prompting us (see Philippians 2:13), as Galatians 5:17 clearly explains (above), our flesh entices us to do the exact opposite of what the Spirit of God is convicting us to do.
Now that we have covered the basics, next week we will examine the war within at a deeper level. We will look specifically at the three major battles we face and the God given strategy for victory.
Thank You Father for sharing the truth in Your Word about the war within. In my weakness, I long for the battles to end. However, in my faith, I trust that all You cause and allow are in my best interest. Therefore, I pray, that in each battle, I give You praise and that Your Name is glorified. I thank You for my salvation! I praise You for working in my life every day to draw me closer to You. Forgive me when I fail. Sustain me when I get weary. Enable me to live a life that is pleasing in Your sight. In the precious name of Christ I pray, Amen.