22nd October 2021
THE BATTLE WITHIN
“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do”
• In our first reading, Paul is reflecting on the inner struggle which is common to us all. The Jewish Law, in which he was schooled, taught that there are two instinctive impulses within each person; one leads to good and the other to evil. In each one of us is the struggle; between the spirit and the flesh, between grace and sin and between right and wrong. Each is constantly vying for supremacy. The good impulses come from God and evil ones from ourselves, or as Paul say, “from the flesh.”
• In this struggle, or battle, experience has shown that, more often than not, it is the FLESH that holds a commanding lead in victories over the
• This same battle that Paul was struggling with, rages within each one of us. Each one of us, has that one weakness that one struggles with. Weaknesses of the flesh come in many forms; anger, pride, sloth, dishonesty, unbridled ambition, greed, irresponsibility, uncontrolled sexual desires, excessive dependence on alcohol, food, etc.
• When we think of our many weaknesses, we are inclined to cry out with Paul: “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24. I cannot deliver myself. As long as I think that I can do it, I am only postponing the true victory in my life. The answer lies outside of me. The only one who can free us from these evil powers of fleshly domination is the same for us as it was for Paul: OUR RISEN SAVIOUR. Only God can transform and redeem a stubborn, rebellious heart, and only Christ can conquer sin in one’s life. “Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Paul asked, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:24-25.
• Like Paul, we will often hate the things we do and regret the mistakes we make because we long to live lives that are holy and pleasing to God. This longing reveals that the word of the God and Holy Spirit are alive and active, steering us towards God.
• The beauty of God’s grace, however, is that we are no longer judged or condemned for each and every sin or shortcoming. We are no longer slaves to sin but new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). And though our victory comes through Christ’s death and resurrection, the process of becoming more like Him, is ongoing.
• So just remember, on your worst day, God’s grace is sufficient for you. Your greatest victory has already been won. Today, God is at work in your life, slowly but purposefully making you more like Him. So be patient in His perfect process, and trust in His perfect timing. His best for you is done, being done, and is still to come.