Every human is naturally sinful with original sin. The Bible refers to this as our flesh (Psalm 51:5, John 3:6).
But every believer is born again, programmed with a new spirit that adds a second operating system, really. The Bible calls this the new self, or the spirit (with a small “s” see Romans 8).
But here’s the deal. This second operating system deletes the first, natural operating system of sin, but then it stays in the “deleted items” trash folder of our heart and has a life of its own where it comes creeping back into our operating system like an undetected virus. All. The. Time.
Multiple times a day we ask questions like, “When will I conquer this sin?” “How can I keep doing this when I know it’s wrong?” “Why can’t I keep my internal promises that I make to be a better person?” In short, the Christian life is a struggle we don’t want.
Here is something really important: the struggle is a good thing.
If you are struggling, it’s like taking a professional development class. Extra hours, extra work, saying no to some fun because you need to study, and discovering how much you don’t know. Ugh! You could have avoided it all by just coasting through your job like everyone else. So the Christian life is a struggle. A good struggle.
As you walk with Jesus and explore new growth, new opportunities, and new functions of your faith, the discoveries will be jaw-dropping, the wisdom and insight will be exponential, the intimacy with God and relational closeness in everyday life a higher level of loving and sharing. And in the effort itself—the journey—you will find a holy path of right choices that are good, and feel good.
Where is God in this struggle?
He says “no” to the curse and control of sin before you do. He promises that as you try, and fail, he won’t punish you. He already punished his own Son, Jesus. He promises that sin isn’t your master and can’t bully you—unless you let it. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1,2).
PRAYER: Dear God the Holy Spirit, create in me a birth of new, spiritual life every day. As my new life struggles against sin, be my strength and wisdom. In mercy, forgive me when I fail, and set me free again, as free as the wind. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read all of Romans 8. This is a big assignment, so give it time. Slow down. Bible translators have their own struggle, not always sure whether to translate the Greek word for “spirit” to be our new self (small “s” spirit) or God the Holy Spirit (capital “s” Spirit). Sometimes it is clear, but many times it is not. So pause when you read the word “spirit” or “Spirit.” Meditate on this question, “Why did translators choose this form of the word here? What if it were the other one, would it be true, right, and mean something insightful for me?”