THE WAGING WAR WITHIN
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:6-7 (NIV)
15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. 19 I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:15-23 (NIV)
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 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. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:21-25 (NIV)
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:5-10 (NIV)
1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
“The heart is constituted such that the only way to dispossess it of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one…and when God stands revealed as an object of confidence to sinners—and where our desire after Him is not chilled into apathy by that barrier of human guilt which intercepts every approach that is not made to Him through the appointed Mediator…it is when released from the spirit of bondage…and admitted into the number of God’s children, through the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of adoption is poured upon us—it is then that the heart, brought under the mastery of one great and predominant affection, is delivered from the tyranny of its former desires and the only way in which deliverance is possible”. Scottish Pastor, Thomas Chalmers, 1780-1847
“If we suffer the good to grow weaker, the evil will surely gather strength and struggle desperately for the mastery over us; and so, mayhap, a painful desolation, and a lamentable disgrace may follow.” Charles Spurgeon
“We must be aware of the various ways sin pulls us to wrong thoughts about God, righteousness, grace, ourselves and sin itself. Only the truth of God’s word and meditation in prayer can reveal the deceitfulness of sin.110 Sin works against God. Sin will either deceive us into thinking God is a cruel taskmaster, or, if that will not work, will deceive us into thinking He is like a doting grandfather who really does not care what we do. Sin affects every Christian’s view of God and leads us to worship idols, figments of our own imaginations, and not the true God. Sin will deceive us concerning grace. We will either be deceived into thinking it is too good to be true, or we will buy into cheap grace and think that ethics are unimportant.” Dr. Bob Flayhart
“What are believers saved from? From their former position under the wrath of God, the dominion of sin, and the power of death; from their natural condition of being mastered by the world, the flesh and the devil; from the fears that a sinful life engenders, and from the many vicious habits that were part of it. How are believers saved from these things? Through Christ, and in Christ. Our salvation involves first, Christ dying for us and second, Christ living in us and we living in Christ, united with Him in His death and risen life. This vital union, which is sustained by the Spirit from the divine side and by faith from our side, and which is formed in and through our new birth, presupposes covenantal union in the sense of our eternal election in Christ.” J I Packer
“Contrary to the world’s beliefs, the spiritual fruit of self-control does not come about through the discipline of self-mastery, but rather through surrendering ourselves to God’s control. None of us fully have the power, capability, or wisdom to master our own lives. You cannot resist all the temptations that are hurled at you, control the behavior of those closest to you, or limit the ideas that pop into your mind. What you can do is surrender your life to the Holy Spirit. You can control how you respond, yield, and submit to Him.” Michael Youssef
“Oh! That I had a trumpet voice to warn you. Oh! While you are dying, while you are sinking into perdition, may I not cry to you; may not these eyes weep for you! Take to heart, I beseech you, the realities of eternity. Oh, turn, turn! Why will you die? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and ye shall be saved.” Charles H. Spurgeon
“By continually abiding in Christ, the one who has been pruned to bring forth much fruit will bring forth much fruit.” Elmer Towns
“I have continually to mourn that I follow at such a distance and learn so slowly to imitate my precious Master.” Hudson Taylor
“It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and good people who have learned the great secret of life. They have found a joy and a wisdom which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians…and I am one of them.” St. Cyprian, 200-258
• I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength. It is not me – I cannot muster up the ability within myself to walk as Jesus walked. In my flesh, I do not possess the power and I will fail dismally. I must willingly allow His control over my own weaknesses. This is a moment by moment prayer which, btw, He delights to answer. It is the Holy Spirit within me who accomplishes this task as I release my grip on the right to my life. I am not my own – He has bought me with an enormously high price. I honor Him with my body as I relinquish control to the Holy Spirit. True freedom is only found there.
• The most amazing miracle the world will ever see is a transformed life through the power of Christ.
• I am not to be mastered by sin which leads to death, rather Jesus which leads to life and life to the full.