What is your biggest weakness? Does your will power crumble every time you get near a donut? Perhaps you struggle with retail therapy? All of us have areas that we struggle to deny ourselves. Paul tells us that it is normal. There is a desire to do the right thing, but we give in. We need to understand how human nature works in its sinful state. When we do we are on our way to winning the battle of the flesh.
“For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.”
The Struggle Within
Paul has it right. He knows that there is nothing good in him except for what Jesus has put there. This may be hard for some people because we like to highlight our strong points and de-emphasize our weak ones. The sin corrupts our flesh we commit on a daily basis. We want to do good, but we struggle because we have no ability to do it.
When we start to follow Christ, there is a desire placed in us by the Holy Spirit to do the right thing. It is at that point the real battle begins. We are fighting a war on two fronts. First, we are battling our old nature. We have old habits and routines that try to draw us back into our old ways. It is vital that we crucify those desires. Second, we are fighting an unseen war in the heavens. In Ephesians 6 Paul tells us that we are in a spiritual war that can’t be fought with physical weapons but can only be defeated through prayer. Those battles are continually pulling at us.
Equipped for Battle
Jesus tells us that we must deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow him. When we go through these steps the desire to do good grows. Conversely, when we give in to the temptations of the flesh, our senses become dull, and we give in to our desires. The decision to deny ourselves must happen every morning. We need to put on our spiritual armor and be strengthened by the Word of God and prayer. This equips us to go to battle.