Have you ever said one thing with your lips, such as ‘Jesus is Lord’ and known that something in your heart was a million miles away from agreeing? I have sought God on this on many occasions, very aware of something else operating in me that really does not want to yield and is definitely not motivated to do the will of God. I have berated myself many times over this, agonised over whether I have truly repented of wanting my own way, and realise like Paul in the book of Romans that there is something else operating in me that will never want to submit to God – that is my carnal nature which will always want to serve Satan and not the living God.
Then I remember something crucially important, that as a born again disciple of Jesus Christ I am a partaker in the divine nature of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4) and every time I truly choose to yield to Him and trust in Him, I am empowered by the Holy Spirit to live as Jesus lives and respond as He responds.
In the not so distant past I found myself struggling with anger and bitterness that, although born out of the pain of deep rejection, was nonetheless ungodly. I couldn’t understand why I seemed to have limited, if no control, of this anger and bitterness UNTIL, after crying out to God for understanding, I saw where it was really rooted – in my carnal nature.
That revelation and what followed changed me, because I realised that my carnal nature will never repent or want to be godly, something I had been trying but failing to get it to be! I realised that I actually needed to ask God to help me hate the carnal nature (not my identity in Christ, praise God!) as He hates it, and in repentance and humility ask for the motivation and power of Jesus Christ Himself to say no to passions of the flesh. God answers such prayer and provides the power for me to ‘walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh’.
Prayer: Oh Father, Lord of all, how great and merciful You are. I ask You for all the gifts and grace of the Holy Spirit so that my life may truly display the character of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and that I may delight more and more in You. Thank You that You have made provision for all that I need to live a godly life in the midst of this troubled world and that You will strengthen and empower me to overcome in daily battles with the flesh. In the name of Jesus, Amen!
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