For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.Romans 7:19
What are you facing? An addiction that threatens to overtake you? A lie you’ve gotten caught in? Intense negativity, maybe hatred towards somebody else? Maybe you’re feeling dirty, unclean, and just not living the kind of life you want to be.
Years ago, my wife wrote a song. I’ve since forgotten the tune or even the words, but the title stuck with me: “At War with Myself”. What a great title, and an accurate one. Every day I am fighting between the good things I ought to do, and the bad things that my weaker nature tempts me to do. In short: I’m a sinner.
I’m not alone, either. I’ll bet you’re right there with me.
And then there’s Paul. He struggles with this too. The Apostle Paul writes about this inner battle in his letter to the Romans. It always surprises me to read it, because it is such a bold proclamation of Paul’s own sinfulness. The guy who has guided so many of us towards a life of holiness, confessing on the page that he is just as fallible as the rest of us.
Paul decides that, because his mind does not want to sin, it is not him that is sinning, but evil that resides in him. That doesn’t leave him off the hook, it simply describes the terms of a war he can’t seem to win. Paul verses Evil.
Paul loses the battle on a regular basis! On his own, he can’t seem to conquer his own sinful nature. But there is hope. Jesus Christ has come to banish sin, to redeem us who have fallen, to fight the battle alongside us.
Whatever evil lurks within you, it’s a very real threat. It can overtake you and damage your life. But there is hope because of Christ. Paul says just that. In verse 25 he says, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
What are you facing? What inner battles are you waging? I have my own and I bet you have yours. But we both have Christ who has come to hold us up, to help us conquer our inner evil, and to fight for us with all the love in the universe on our side.
Facing evil alone, I don’t know what our odds would be. But standing tall with Christ…
We can’t lose.
Have a great week,
One thought on “At War With Myself”
Hey Mitch! The Romans text really says who we are. There is the constant war and fortunately constant grace. Paul Tillich’s sermon “You Are Accepted” really helps me here. Thanks for your devotions–this one especially! Jim R.