The Struggle Within

Galatians 5:16-18

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Romans 7:14-24 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

While that verse seems to imply that we are not able to win the struggle within, Paul continues.

Romans 7:25 – I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

As we continually seek to surrender our self to Jesus Christ through prayer, study of His Word and fellowship with other believers, we find the strength needed to overcome the carnal/fleshly man. 

Ways that will help us win this struggle.

Psalms 27:4 – One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.  

Psalms 51:10-12 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Acts 17:11 – These were more fair-minded that those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prized of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

Things to avoid to help win this struggle.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 – Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoice in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.  Then I looked on all the works and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. 

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.    

James 4:1-4 – Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

A man once had two dogs that he trained for fighting.  Just before a scheduled fight a friend of his asked him which dog he thought would win the fight, which one should he place his bets on.  As the man quickly pointed out which dog would win, his friend asked him “How do you know that one will win?”  The man replied “Because that is the one I will feed.”

Which one are you feeding – the flesh or the spirit?

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