Ever feel like …
you’re fighting yourself?
This image fits Paul’s words in today’s Scripture passage. It also illustrates how I feel sometimes. Do you ever feel like you are fighting yourself to do what you need to do? Something is driving you, compelling you, sweeping you along to do what you know is not what you should do, yet, you feel powerless to not do it? (Or it is just me?)
That ‘something’ is our human (flesh) nature. The more of this human nature that we surrender to God the less intense the struggle becomes. While this is true, it takes time–a LOT of time–and it happens very slowly. It also takes a LONG time before it feels like any progress is being made. I believe this is because we have so MUCH to overcome in our flesh nature.
Read today’s passage. Make the ‘I’ personal. Do you see yourself there? Can you identify with Paul when he says, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”?
And when we cannot carry it out, what do we do? We beat ourselves up, of course. We go on a spree of condemnation and tear ourselves down for not being perfectly mature and able to live as we THINK God has for us to live. (Or is that just me too?)
Look again at the stick figures in the image. Now imagine that conflict going on inside of you. Imagine your flesh nature warring against your spirit that genuinely wants to be in agreement with God. More than just imagine it, let yourself feel it. Can you?
This is what Paul describes. The conflict is real and constant. We battle it every day we breathe and the battle will not cease until we are no longer in these physical bodies. Until then, buckle up because the ride will be bumpy at times.
God understands where we are. He does not expect us to be perfect. His law is absolutely ruthless in its demands but His heart is unconditionally loving, overflowing with grace. The law allows no room to fudge or fail but God in His love for us has already made provision for our weakness and this struggle to which we all fall victim.
It comes down to grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Eph 2:8-9 NIV)
When you fail the rules, when you do what you do not want to do, and when you cannot make yourself do what you know to do, remember grace. Remember that God’s grace covers our sin and He has already made provision for the law we cannot keep and the fight we cannot (at times) win.
This fight is real. Paul would not have written these words if it was not. Some days you will win. Some days you will not. Be grateful for your victories. Accept God’s grace for the battles you lose.
Know that through it all, God loves you. He does not love you less when you fail any more than He loves you more when you do not. He loves you. Period. Forever. Unchanging. Knowing this and believing it more than what we feel and think is a key strategy in winning these battles.
If you truly believe this and live according to it, even when you lose, you win.
Today’s Seed™ Scripture and Prayer for May 26, 2023:
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Rom 7:15,18,22,23 NIV)
Prayer: LORD, the inner struggle is intense at times. I feel driven to do what I do not (in my heart) want to do. I am grateful that You understand and that I am not alone in this struggle. Help me surrender all my failures and feelings of condemnation to You and trust that You will not hold them against me. Thank You for loving me unconditionally and for understanding me–even when I do not understand myself. As I trust Your grace, even when I lose, I win. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
(c) 2023 Randall Vaughn • All Rights Reserved • http://www.e-min.org
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‘Today’s Seed’ from E-MIN • May 26, 2023
About Randall Vaughn:
With 40+ years as pastor, author, teacher, worship leader, and songwriter, Randall pioneered E-MIN in 1997–one of the earliest online ministries and today the longest operating. His passion is leading people to deeper, genuine relationship with God. He lives in Alabama with his lovely wife, Karen, and their dogs, Hadi and Rayah. He enjoys hiking, exploring new tech, and “prayer walks”.
Copyright (c) 2023 Randall Vaughn • All Rights Reserved.
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One thought on ““Today’s Seed” from E-MIN May 26, 2023”
Fantastic explanation of the good news. GREAT news! The struggle within.