21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but 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. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
My sons and I read that aloud one day, and got totally tickled at the "Do Wop" sound of the verse. We have now nicknamed that verse "The Do Wop Verse"
But what, exactly does that mean? What's going on with Paul? He's struggling to do right, but he keeps giving in and messing up. He's getting so frustrated with giving into temptation, he cries out, "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me?" of course, he knows the answer: "Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Paul knew something. He knew that our flesh would always war with our spirit, sometimes winning, sometimes not.
How do we make ourselves behave, and not give into sin? By not focusing on it. Too often, we get so wrapped up with how many sins we've committed on a daily basis... how many times did we confess... did we forget any? Do we need to go get things right with our neighbor? Sin, Sin, Sin. It's a wonder we have any time left to devote to a relationship with our Father.
I don't know about you, but I have found that nine times out of ten, I'm simply not strong enough to resist the sin, although I dearly want to resist. I could pray and ask Jesus to "help me" say no...but, according to scriptures... we have the help we need. Let's look at Titus 2 for a moment: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.
It's not our self effort that teaches us to say no, but rather, God's grace. Nice words, but how does this work? The more time we spend with our focus on God, the less time we spend focusing on our sins. Next thing you know... our fleshly desires aren't top of the list... but communing with God is. Have you ever wondered what makes sin-well.. sin? Did God just randomly pick some acts and divide them into two groups? "Sin" and "not sin"? No... the only thing that counts, is faith expressing itself in love. (Galatians 5:6), All things ARE permissible (as stated in I Corinthians 6 & 10)but they're NOT all profitable, or good for us. If whatever we're doing, will cause someone to stumble in their walk with God, then we shouldn't do it. Not because God's going to zap us, but simply because it's not the loving thing to do. Why would we want to become a stumbling block for others? That's simply not a response of love.
So, it would be a good thing to stop beating ourselves up when we sin, start focusing on God, and as we grow in His Grace, that same grace will teach us to say NO! to ungodliness.
Enjoy your walk in Him!