NLT - 9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)
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1) We struggle because now we have "awakened" I recently heard this as a form of encouragement from Joseph Prince: "we struggle harder, because we are now alive. We did not truly face these struggles before, because we were dead." We are also under heavier than ever attacks from the enemy because we have been "claimed back" by God Himself... a sign of being born again! :D An analogy would be, you are now moving towards being a beautiful butterfly from being an ugly caterpillar before, and so... you will get more harassment, more jealousy, more drama and challenges hurled at you. We are formerly dying plants in the process of being rerooted, being transplanted... being removed from toxic soil we've learned how to "barely survive" in (imagine all the roots crying out in pain as we are separated from the soil), but we are being pruned, renewed, spruced up, and will be moved into new fertile pristine soil. :) We also struggle, as practice to learn how to lead an increasingly spirit-filled and victorious life. How can you truly "win" if there is no battle? And also, remember our battle is fought through God's power NOT our own. Whenever I am defeated it is because I am still attempting to "fish on my own" like Peter and the disciples before Jesus appeared to them in John 21:1-14. We must realize when we are at the very end of our wits knowing 100% for sure that whatever we do on our own is futiile, and that we lose ALL confidence in our own flesh, our own will, own intention for good, our own discipline, our own skills, or actions but must rely 100% on God's discipline, God's will, God's work and God's action, God's directing of our skills and talents (and all of these are His love for us)... it is then when we can enjoy the process and receive and accept the victory that Christ already prepared for us... and be transformed into His likeness and overcome sin. I know all easier said than done as i am going through these struggles everyday. But I am more hopeful and more optimistic than ever before about my lifelong battles with sin. 2) We struggle but victory has already been granted to us! :D We are ALREADY 100% perfect in God's eyes when we are in Jesus Christ. These wretched struggles, these daily events that show me/make me fee like I am either a zero, or a one, or two out of 100 points, I can look to Jesus and say, THANK YOU JESUS for giving me your full 100 points even though I am really only zero or one points. :) And be happy that I am now 100 points in Jesus Christ. (courtesy Zac Poonan for the point system analogy: in life, some may have 10 points and be proud of their 10 points over the sinner's 0.5 or 0 points, but they are still long ways away from Jesus's 100 points that God requires. If you hang onto your 10 points, i.e. "let me exercise my will power to control this sinful habit, i can do it!" then you will lose even to the 0 point sinner who has accepted God's and Jesus's 100 points for him.) our struggles are the perfect place to invite God to do His work. 3) Praise if you can through all struggle, build closer relationship with God through all struggle, share sorrows and woes with our very PERSONAL, loving, Fatherly God. Praise God in all circumstances, ask for faith, and thank Jesus for His mighty hand to carry us through it all, no matter what our human minds interpret the situation to be.... and stay steadfast in prayer, binding yourself tightly to Jesus and God... I cling onto Him like a bloodsucker.... when I fall off, I cling back on, with His help of course.
We are all born with a sin nature. When we are born again by the power of God through Faith in Jesus he gives us His Spirit nature. Now we have two natures in conflict with each other. Then it is our responsibility to exercise our God given free will to choose which nature to follow, flesh or Spirit. Before rebirth our will has no choice but to follow the only nature we have which is the flesh. After rebirth we get the choice back to follow the Spirit God gives. It's Gods will that we follow the Spirit rather than the flesh and He expects us to make the right choices. This is the struggle, before rebirth we follow the only nature we know. After rebirth the Power of The Holy spirit starts showing us how far we have fallen and how much we miss the mark. I believe that by acknowledging the struggle makes us aware that the Spirit is trying to get our attention. Here is a link that may be helpful. http://www.gotquestions.org/struggling-with-sin.html
Romans 7:15-25 NKJV "For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to 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. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, 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? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." Read all of Romans 7, the sinful nature in us war against our spirit in us. Its a constant war going on in us. All of Romans 8 speak about those are led by the Holy Spirit. Which means Those who fellowship with Him daily and have Him to guide them in every area of their lives, including ministry. But that doesn't mean we are going to be perfect because then we would be prideful so God will allow a thorn in our flesh (a weakness) to keep us humble. Read 2 Corinthians 12.
I used to think that the Christian life was something that I had to try to live out so that God would be satisfied with me and how well I was living. In recent years, I have had a totally different perspective. My life has become much more an experience of Christ living his life through me as I rest in him, trusting him to do what I've always wanted to do but couldn't accomplish. Jesus intended that we share his easy yoke and his light burden, and that we live in rest for our souls, but for probably most Christians, that doesn't seem to be their daily experience. They live under the stress of feeling that they don't measure up and are completely wearied by that thought. That was never Jesus's intent for us, and I don't believe that's what Paul is talking about in Romans 7 either, as is often suggested. Romans 7 is sandwiched between chapters 6 and 8, of course. Romans is written to provide foundational teaching to a church that Paul hadn't met at this point and it's an excellent jumping off point for the rest of the new testament. Paul is spending a lot of time explaining how we have received a righteousness from God that we could never attain to and how his grace is for daily living every bit as much as it is for salvation. At the beginning of Romans 6, Paul says, "Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it (Romans 6:1 - 6:2 NLT). Then at the beginning of Romans 8 he explains that we have a choice in the matter because we are no longer under the authority of sin. And in between, in Romans 7, he explains what it looks like if we try to live this life 'for' God on our own strength: we want to, but can't. This, in fact, is why the law was given. "God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were." (Romans 5:20 NLT). Paul is talking about how our power is completely useless to live this new life. The key to the new covenant is two-sided. One side is 'in Christ', the other, 'Christ in you'. God placed us in Christ and he went to the cross to die to sin, so that, being in him, we too, would die to sin. When he rose again, we were raised with him, past tense. "For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3 ESV) In Christ, we have already died to the power of sin, not only the penalty sin. Sin is no longer in a position of authority over us. "And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." (Colossians 1:27 NLT). Christ in us is the mystery that was revealed in the new covenant. ('Glory' in this verse means the moral character of God, rather than a reference to heaven.) Christ, I believe through the Holy Spirit, lives in us as our enabler, as the one who lives through us because in our flesh, we have no ability to live out the life God intended for us. There seems to be a mentality among Christians that says, 'Salvation is by grace, through faith, alone, but sanctification is my responsibility.' Or put another way, 'Salvation is God's gift to me, what I make of my life is my gift to him.' If we live by these maxims, we will find our Christian experience to be completely frustrating. Only Christ can live the Christian life and his intention is to live it through us. The Christian life is not something we do, but something we receive. Our flesh will be as rotten the day we die as it was the day we were born. We will carry it with us until we die and this physical world is behind us. However the flesh is no longer our identity because Christ in us is our new identity. He has united (married) himself to us. When temptation comes knocking, and it will, let Christ in you go to the door to answer it and you will find that the temptation has left. If you go to answer the door and try to deal with temptation yourself, there is nothing Christ can do to deal with the temptation or the desire because we've taken the responsibility upon ourselves, and out of his hands, to defeat it. If we think we can fight temptation, we're kidding ourselves. Our lives, in Christ, must be surrendered to Him, desires and all, if we want the joy that he says is a fruit of his Spirit in us. One more thing about Christ living in us: He gives us his own desires to replace ours. We will then find that we have two sets of desires, our old habitual desires and the desires of God. The old habitual desires characterize our flesh, while the desire to be righteous on God's terms characterize his life in us. It's really a question of which we surrender to. It's not 'good news' to trust God to save me and then find that trying to live to a higher standard is pure frustration. My best efforts at trying to live for God are useless. This is the crux of the 'good news'. He has to live through me. I can't, but he can. I hope this is clear enough and that it helps.
I wonder if perhaps the NLT translation is a bit more liberal than normal in adding interpretation to this verse. ESV - You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. The ESV translation is closer to the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit as oppose to "control" by the Holy Spirit. In my opinion, it is the renewing of our mind and continuous in-filling of the Holy Spirit that brings victory over our flesh.
Some two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul expressed frustration over the fact that ‘the good that he wished he did not do, but the bad that he did not wish was what he practiced.’ (Romans 7:19) If we are honest, we have to admit that our personal situation is similar. Perhaps we desire to live by the Ten Commandments or by some other standard of conduct, but like it or not, we all fall short. It is not that we deliberately choose to violate a norm, but we are simply weak. What is the explanation? Paul himself gives the answer: “If, now, what I do not wish is what I do, the one working it out is no longer I, but the sin dwelling in me.”—Romans 7:20. Like Paul, all humanity is afflicted by innate weaknesses—evidence of inherent sin and imperfection. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” said the apostle. What is the cause of this condition? Paul continues: “Through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.”—Romans 3:23; 5:12.
My short answer is this: Remember in scripture the any number of times that Jesus told someone to "Go and sin no more!" It was and is God's specific instruction of what our intent is to be in any and every circumstance we encounter! To me, it is each of our personal responsibility to live daily with an attitude to put our Trust in the Lord: He tells us to "Trust in the Lord in all that we do and lean not upon our own understanding and He will direct our every pathway and guide us into all righteousness in all that we do." Just like the woman caught in adultery: Jesus told her accusers, "If any of you are without iniquity (sin), then ye cast the first stone!" What happened? Well, one by one, each of them got up and walked away. They each had no right to be in judgment of her sinfulness because of their own sinfulness! I think the major point was very emphatically made.(John 8:7-11) We are to not be judgemental of others, but to each seek to do God's will for our lives each and every day! (Matthew 6:10) (Luke 11:2) We all still live in our fleshly bodies and still live in this physical world that is Satan's domain! We are continually instructed in scripture to "look to the Lord, seek Him and His Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."(Matthew 6:10) And, we are instructed "to guard our hearts" and "allow His Holy Spirit to guide us into all Truth."(Philippians 4:7) If each of us will just daily "Love, trust and obey Him in all that we do", He will provide all that we need and what He knows is best for us, not necessarily what we think is best; because, only God knows best!(Matthew 6:10) God wants each of us to have a daily attitude that mirrors the verses in the old Gospel Hymn that goes like this: "I surrender all,...I surrender all...all to Jesus...I surrender all..." Only God is all powerful, all-knowing, pure, Holy and Just. And, most importantly God is love and He loves you and He loves me more than you or I can ever comprehend! "Praise God that He provided a Savior!" And, His name is Jesus Christ!" ~~~Andy~~~
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