God’s Grace & Our Faith (Part 29): Winning the War Going On INSIDE Of You!

by Rick

Today we will continue our series entitled “God’s Grace & Our Faith.” We are looking at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus. Our primary scriptures are John 1:14 & 17. In our last message, we also looked at Galatians 5:16. Today we will move on to Galatians 5:17. We will look at this verse in 4 translations.

(John 1:14 NIV)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:17 NIV)

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

(Galatians 5:17 The Passion Translation)  

For your self-life craves the things that offend the Holy Spirit and hinder him from living free within you! And the Holy Spirit’s intense cravings hinder your old self-life from dominating you!  So then, the two incompatible and conflicting forces within you are your self-life of the flesh and the new creation life of the Spirit.

(Galatians 5:17 Easy to Read Version)  

The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do.

(Galatians 5:17 J.B. Phillips New Testament)  

For the whole energy of the lower nature is set against the Spirit, while the whole power of the Spirit is contrary to the lower nature. Here is the conflict, and that is why you are not free to do what you want to do.

(Galatians 5:17 New Living Translation)  

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Your soul is NOT saved; it IS BEING saved (or changed).

I have taught you this before, but it is worth repeating. This is something I believe you must understand if you want to develop into the man/woman you are called by God to be.

— Before you were Born-Again, you learned to think a certain way. You were born where you were born, experienced whatever you experienced, learned what you learned, and became whoever you became. You did all of this without Christ and without His Spirit living inside of you. But then you heard about Jesus, you accepted the gospel, and you were Born-Again.  At that point, you were a new man, living in an old body, in need of a new mind. Your spirit was Born-Again, recreated, and made new. But your soul was not.

— Your soul contains your mind (the way you think), emotions (the way you feel), and will (the way you make decisions).  After you are Born-Again, you must study the Bible (get the Word down in your heart) and learn to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit (so you can be led by Him). This is the only way you will change the way you think, feel, and make decisions, to line up with God and His Word/ways. In a sense, you WERE changed. But in another sense, as you walk with God, study His Word, and learn to hear and follow the voice of His Spirit, you are BEING changed!

To become the man/woman God has called you to be, you must be deprogrammed (from the world) and reprogrammed to think and act like God. The goal is to think like Him every second of every day. This is why you cannot just go to church on Sundays, get a few minutes of Bible teaching, and think you will be alright. Unless you meditate on God’s Word day and night, you will lose the battle within. I believe this is one of the reasons why God directed me to share His Word every weekday. You need God’s Word daily.

2.  It takes discipline to mature as a disciple of Christ.

— Discipleship requires discipline. God never called us to “just get saved.” He called us to become disciples. A disciple of God is a God-follower. He/she follows God daily.  

Many people blame satan for their missteps when they simply have bad habits. They were conditioned to sin before coming to God, and after being Born-Again, they have never put in the work required to change their old ways.  

— You must work on becoming the man/woman you are called to be.  You must work to literally brainwash yourself, washing your mind of all the destructive practices you developed before coming to God. This only happens through God’s Word and by His Spirit, and it takes time.  

If you are not willing to put in the time or energy, the Holy Spirit will tell you to do something that pleases God, but your old tendencies and sinful urges will override the Holy Spirit every time. You won’t make progress in Christ, and it won’t be because of satan. It will be because you never put in the work to renew your mind!  

— You have God’s Word, you are filled with His Spirit, and you are called according to His purpose. Now the question is: what are you going to do about it?  Will you develop the discipline required to be a true disciple of Jesus, or will you continue to allow sin to ruin your life, even after being Born-Again?  

Sin may not unravel your righteousness, but you are still going to reap what you sow, so sin can certainly unravel your life!  The choice is yours! Please make the decision right now that you are going to put in the work to renew your mind!

— Discipleship requires getting in God’s Word (getting it through your eyes and ears, so it can get down in your heart), spending time with the Holy Spirit so you can learn to discern His voice, and training yourself to DENY YOURSELF daily. If you don’t do this, it will be hard to move forward becuase your flesh will keep pulling you back! Let’s go back to our scripture for today:

The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” (Galatians 5:17 NLT)

3.  When you are first Born-Again, there is a war going on inside of you between new vs. old. 

— In Galatians 5:17, the Apostle Paul makes it clear that once you are Born-Again, the Holy Spirit will lead you to do things that are pleasing in God’s sight. However, at the same time, your old thinking will war against the Holy Spirit and attempt to get you to comply with your old nature and live in accordance with old habits. If you don’t train yourself to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and more importantly, to actually OBEY what He says, you will be Born-Again, but you won’t live like who you are!  Because you are losing the war within!   

— It takes time, but you can most certainly get to the point where you develop habits that align with God’s Word, will, and ways. Once you do, your old impulses (to do wrong) will be more “muted” because your new impulses (to do right) will be stronger, and it will be easier for you to live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight.

4.  You have the GRACE to be led by God’s Spirit and to overrule the desires of the flesh. 

— In this series, I have compared and contrasted the New Covenant (of Grace) with the Old Covenant (of The Law). I hope you can see there are many differences. One of the major differences is that we don’t have to attempt to do what God has called us to do without Him.  Under the New Covenant, God places His Spirit INSIDE of us, and His Spirit gives us access to His grace!

— Under the Old Covenant, people focused on rules, they tried to comply with the rules with their human effort, and since they were never capable of doing so, they had to kill animals as sacrifices for sin. Under the New Covenant, once we are Born-Again, we are no longer under the power of sin.  However, if we don’t train ourselves to live FREE from sin, sin can ruin our lives.

— God has given us His Word, His Spirit, and His grace. In His Word, He teaches us to think and act like Him. By His Spirit, He leads us to become the men/women we are called to be. And by His grace, He empowers us to do what we could never do without Him.  

Without God’s forgiving grace, you would still be under the power of sin, and without God’s empowering grace, sin would still overpower you every day. But by learning to be led by God’s Spirit and tapping into His grace daily, you can overrule the impulses to do wrong and CHOOSE to do right daily!  This is part of being a disciple of Jesus. #TheGraceLife does not mean you are free to sin. It means you can overcome the temptations of sin and live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight! So how do you win the way within?  You do so BY THE GRACE OF GOD! 

That’s enough for today.

Declaration of Faith:  

Father, Jesus died for my sin and the sin of the world 2,000 years ago.  Salvation has been provided for all men.  We must now receive what You have already provided.  I did.  Jesus is my Lord!  I was Born-Again.  Now Your Spirit lives in me.  I declare that I learn to discern His voice (which is Your voice), and I obey what He says (which are Your commands).

I put in the time and work required to renew my mind.  I meditate and medicate on Your Word day and night.  I hear Your voice, and I have the discipline required to say whatever You tell me to say, to go wherever You lead me to go and to do whatever You lead me to do when I get there, even when Your leading is against my old habits, tendencies, and ways.  I die to self daily!  I allow Your Word and Your Spirit to guide me.  I am continually becoming the man/woman I was born to be.  I win the war within!  Therefore, GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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