“For the good that I would I do not: But the evil which I would not, that I do (Romans 7:19).”
Paul speaks about the moral struggle we all face to choose right or wrong. He describes this conflict as a war on the inside that rages each day. If a hero of the faith can wrestle with this issue, so will everyone else.
What is known as the battle of the flesh may be more serious than the fight against Satan. King David recorded that we were all born into iniquity (Psalms 51:5). As a result, we contend with this sinful nature all our lives. We can all identify with Paul’s words because we experience it often. To finish his thoughts on what seems to be a hopeless battle: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The first step to victory is to be aware of this war and to take it seriously. As in any military conflict, without proper planning and preparation, defeat is inevitable. If we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). While no one is perfect, this scripture shows us that we can win.
If we strengthen ourselves spiritually, we can conquer our flesh. However, if we feed the “flesh,” we will live in defeat. Do we fill our schedules with activities and people that encourages us in the faith? Is prayer and the word of God a priority? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in every decision? Or, is more time spent feeding our carnal nature and strengthening our enemy? These are the decisions that could make all the difference.
It is vital to understand that this fight can not be won alone. Even our best efforts can not achieve God’s high standards. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). As a result of breaking his commandments, we all deserve the penalty. However, Jesus paid that price on the cross so we could be forgiven. We can receive this grace through faith in him. Not only can we be saved from our sins, we can receive grace to help us live the Christian life. Through our relationship with Christ, we find strength to do his will. Like Paul, our efforts alone will fail, but victory can be found through Jesus Christ.