In Romans 7 we learn that there is an internal struggle that goes on within us to do right. In effect it is a war between good and evil. The day you become a Christian the war begins. We naturally have a rebellious nature and without the help of the HOLY SPIRIT it would win. Our rebellious nature is called "the flesh". Matthew 26:41 Jesus says...Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
I don't know about you but I have always had problems with "my flesh"! Overcoming temptation in my life almost sunk me more than once. When I first came to know CHRIST I thought that all the things I was struggling with were just going to go away. Much to my "surprise" I found out right away that everything intensified! I was told this would happen but I didn't realize how weak I was and how strong satan was. By about the third day I had a good understanding of how things were! Since then I have finally learned...after about two years!!...that when the devil throws temptations from my past up in my face to just turn them over to GOD. When you accept CHRIST, and the HOLY SPIRIT lives in you, you are given a new nature. However, you are still gong to sin and you will still experience temptation. Never try to fight them by yourself. You can't beat the devil on your own. He's sneaky and very good at what he does. But the LORD is all powerful and can help you to beat him every time. So when those temptations come at you, you have to...let the HOLY SPIRIT turn your eyes from your old performance and look towards JESUS. Joshua 1:9 says..."This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
CHRIST redeemed us by the ransom of HIS blood. HE set us free. John 8:36 says...So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.
Being born again takes one small moment of faith. Changing and becoming like CHRIST is a lifelong process. We will have failures and we will have successes. What I pray for daily is that the LORD helps me to know HIM and become more like HIM everyday. To do this I know that I have to spend time with HIM on a consistant basis. I need to read HIS word, talk to HIM, talk with other believers about HIM and praise and worship HIM. I know that nothing else in this life is as important as my relationship with HIM. Philippians 3:8-11 says this...Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
As Paul did, are you willing to make the sacrifice to change and give up your time, plans and desires to become more like CHRIST? Are you willing to suffer for the cause of CHRIST? It will be a major lifestyle change for many of us. But I know that it is worth it. Even when I make just small changes to include HIM more in my time and my life I notice the difference HE makes in me. There is a song called...I Didn't Think It Could Be by Andre Crouch. Here are some of the lyrics;
Somebody told me of the joy they had
Somebody told me that in sorrow they could be glad
Then they told me once they were bound but now set free
But I didn't know it could be 'til it happened to me
Now I can tell you of the joy I have
Now I can tell you that in sorrow I can be glad
Now I can tell you once I was bound but now I'm set free
But you'll never know that it's true 'til it happens to you
Swindoll says in his study on Romans...As we come to know HIM more intimately-the HOLY SPIRIT will do what only HE can do: make us more like our SAVIOR. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, yet has no light of it's own, so we will shine with GOD'S radiance as we live in close proximity to HIS SON.