Last Sunday I was asked to lead Bible study at my church. Now, many of you have heard and read my “Moments”, but this will be a bit Longer than those, so pour yourself a cup of coffee, and join me.
Struggle or Contentment
I am a Christian, but I find that I still struggle with sin every day. My destination is Heaven, but I find that sometimes I do not live out my salvation. I don’t want you to raise your hands, but do you know what I am talking about.
Have you found yourself talking to someone, and using words that you know shouldn’t be coming out of your mouth, but they come out anyway. Or, maybe like me, you are driving to church and you decide to pass someone that is driving a bit slower than you and as you are passing them the two lane road merges into one lane and you pass them anyway, crossing the double yellow line.
Well, if any of this rings true for you, you are not alone. I find the same struggles in myself.
Paul says in Romans 6:8-14
“Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
So, Paul tells us clearly what Christ did for us, and that we should not “let sin reign” in us. But, we still struggle. Why is that?
Well, the reason we do is no secret.
“For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.”
So, Paul makes three statements here. 1. Evil and sin live in me, that is in my body and flesh, 2. My mind wants to do the right thing by “serving the law of God”. 3. I can’t solve this problem; “the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want”.
Then he asks a question; How do I solve this problem; “Who will set me free from the body of this death?”, An immediately answers his own question; “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!“
Further, Paul doesn’t leave us there. He explains;
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
Here, Paul tells us the true secret of overcoming the sin that lives in my body. The Spirit of Christ lives in me, and has the power to overcome the sin that I struggle with daily if I will only let Him reign in me. We don’t need to struggle with sin when we keep our eyes and focus on Jesus.
John 15:1-5, 9-11 explain further;
“1. I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
9. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
Jesus speaks to us in a still small voice, and if we listen to His voice, he will drown out the blaring noise of the world around us. He has the power to accomplish His plan completely and fully in us and through us. When we trust Christ, we don’t need to fear anything because Jesus has overcome the world and all the evil in it, including the evil living in my body.
I find that on my own, using will power, I can’t live a life without sin, but I have discovered that I don’t have to, because Christ can, and He will live a life without sin in and through me using His power. “I can’t, but I don’t have to, because He can, and He will”
Finally, we read this in; Philippians 4:12,13
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul is not just talking about food and clothing, he is talking about all of life, including the temptation to sin. Paul is content, and we can experience contentment when we allow Christ to live His life through us using His limitless power and strength.