Is it hard to do the right thing? Ever have to talk yourself into it? Perhaps going through the day you find your mind is swirling of angry thought, insults, and a general dislike of others. Hopefully they never pop out of your mouth. Should it really be that hard to be a decent person?
What’s the underlying thought at work under it? An example; it’s a dark and stormy night. You’re slowly making your way home as the wipers try to beat back the rain. In the woods between the lanes of the interstate you see car lights. ‘Someone ran off the road and down the hill’, you realize. What do you do?
I’ll Tell You What I Did
I argued with myself. “Surely, they’re okay. Someone has already called 911.” The thought? Just couldn’t be bothered. Romans 7:14-23 speaks of the inner war between good and evil in the individual. It comes in many forms, like sarcastic comments that pop in your head like mental color commentary when it comes to people. Playing favorites or showing preference if you’re in a place of authority.
Before it was easier to give into that initial impulse. Now it weighs on us when it happens, like when the Apostle Paul cried out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” in Romans 7:24. Jesus did when we were saved and began following him in Romans 7:25. Because of that we’re free from sin’s grip (Romans 6:22) and live by the Holy Spirit.
Romans 8:12 tells us because our old nature was put to death, and risen with Jesus we can live according to our new nature. We’re led by the Spirit as children of God. This is how the two natures clash, where before all we had was our conscience (the moral law) and whatever ethics our parents taught us.
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17
Who Can Help Us?
Now we have a Counselor (John 16:7) to guide us. The Holy Spirit convicts (John 16:8) and guides us to what is true and right (John 16:13). He speaks from deep feelings that we should ‘do this’ or ‘not to do that’. He brings to mind verses to guide us. When we stray, our heart feels heavy as He convicts us.
That’s what happened that night. A minute later I was calling 911 to report it. I wasn’t the first to call either, someone else did while I was rationalizing. The thing is…it shouldn’t have even been up for debate.
Some superhero, full of love, that I turned out to be. A lesson within a lesson; as far as we’ve come, we always have further to go. It’ll happen though, God doesn’t leave a job half-finished. My pastor often says, “be faithful in the moment”. When we screw up, then do right in the following moment. It’s like eating an elephant, one bite at a time.