For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am!
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Sigh. I so feel like I am living out this passage of scripture right now. It's as though there is this great battle going on inside a boxing ring. And the problem is, it is. And I am the boxing ring.
The core of this battle (currently) is in my eating. Along with a friend of mine I am going through a book called Thin Within. It's a biblically principled plan for "weight release." They call it "release" instead of loss, because the idea behind it is something you lose you might be apt to find again, whereas releasing indicates a more permanent "letting go." It is based on the principle that overeating is sin. And the fact of the matter is, it is sin. Albeit a highly acceptable form on sin among the people, when we are brutally honest with ourselves, overeating, and the reasons behind it are sinful.
But this post isn't really about my attempts to lose weight, or to "release" it. It's just the current venue for the battle. Even if I finally got my act together and truly became "Spirit led" or better yet, "Spirit dependant" in the area of my eating, another battle would rear it's ugly head.
The flesh is relentless, you see. Although my case of it is no longer terminal, it is still chronic. And it's such a horrendous battle. The more you try, or at least the more I try, to depend on the Holy Spirit and abide in Him, the more the flesh rises against it.
The hard thing to is once the flesh is battling in one area, it seems to rise in even more areas. First it's not saying no to the gluttonous desires within me. Then the temper flares, the mouth slips. It may be a different pattern for you, but still I know the formula is constant for us all. The flesh rages.
I had such an amazing experience during the week of prayer and fasting at my church, but since then it seems as though the flesh has battled back in spades. And I'm tired.
I know the answer, to abide again. I need to draw close, but it seems the the front lines of the battle between flesh and spirit are always drawn intensely at the efforts to sit before the Lord. At least that's the way it is for me.
I am thankful that the Lord is relentless too. I am grateful that this "work" in my life, is in the end, His work. The Bible says "HE is faithful to complete the good work" He has begun in me (Phil 1:6). I'm so grateful for that fall back truth. In the end, the Bible says, He is faithful even when I am faithless (2 Tim 2:13), which is often, far more than I care to admit. And yet, there is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1).
I think sometimes though, despite all these biblical truths that we can hold, knowing God will not let is slip completely in our stumbles (Psalm 37:24) it does not mean we will not get beat up and bruised along the way. But I think it is very much like when my own children were growing. If I had picked them up and carried them every time they fell, they would never have learned to walk, much less ever learn to run.
He has called us to "Run the race"
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
Lay off the things that hinder us, the entangling sin. Ahh yes, hindrance and entanglement, chief among those things is just little old me, the body of death, the flesh from which I cannot ever completely separate myself. But God... He is not only able, but willing to relentlessly see me through the process.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3
Oh Lord, help me not to lose heart. I am weary, the battle is relentless, my flesh is far stronger than I care to confess, but You already know.
Maybe your areas of struggle are different than mine. Perhaps no piece of chocolate cake has ever taunted you, and maybe you control your words quite nicely, but I know, something is your struggle, something is your battle of flesh versus spirit. Somewhere God says "My way" and you chose your own, and you battle and struggle through the consequences of it. I know because the Bible says we all fall short - and the grace of God is our only hope.
I am thankful for a relentless God, who has a stubborn streak in Him that will outlast my flesh and it's every attempt to rail against Him.
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.