14 March 2019
Reading: Deuteronomy 25-27; Galatians 5
The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. (Galatians 5:17 NLT)
Paul is clear in his writings here and in Romans 7 and 8 concerning the conflict that rages inside a Christ-follower. There really are two natures inside me--a Spirit nature (true self, “in-Christ” self) that desires to follow Christ and is prompted by God’s Spirit, and a sinful or flesh nature (false self, old self, ego self) that desires gratification, and is stirred by human desire and Satan. In reality, each choice or decision I make flows out of this conflict between the two natures!
It encourages me to know that Paul faced the same “two-natures” conflict that goes on inside me. Knowing it doesn’t guarantee I’ll make the right choices all the time, but at least it helps to know I’m not the only one!
Here are some things I’ve learned about and through This Conflict:
• The nature I feed most tends to get stronger and win more often.
• Habit patterns will work for me or against me, depending on which habits I form. I choose which habits to cultivate. I live with the consequences of those choices.
• Even in the best of circumstances, I’ve got to be alert to harmful external influences and on guard against harmful internal desires.
• It doesn’t appear that my sinful nature is going to disappear this side of the grave.
• God always loves me, not because I always make the right choices, but because he always loves me! I’ve discovered I make more right choices when I remember he always loves me.
Father, I thank you for the discipline and practice of daily Bible reading and journaling. Thank you for this opportunity to feed and strengthen my Spirit-nature early each day. Please, may the truths and insights you give me in my devotional time help to shape my thoughts, words, and actions throughout the rest of my day.
5 O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from you. 6 Don't let those who trust in you stumble because of me, O sovereign Lord Almighty. Don't let me cause them to be humiliated, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:5-6 NLT)