As my son is becoming more independent, I’ve noticed that dangerous things seem to have a gravitational pull on him. He can be in an open area and immediately he will head for something dangerous. I constantly have to walk in his path to steer him from things that will do him harm. He usually fights me and tries to walk around me to get to it. I keep blocking him until he gives up, but then he usually sees something else that has the potential to be dangerous and heads for it.
I’ve found that we are no different spiritually. Our inner man gravitates to things that are not of God. It tries to get us to go places and do things that are dangerous for our souls. God sends the Holy Spirit to warn us and to block our path, but we try to elude him and his warnings. We then see something else that grabs our attention and head straight for it. He constantly tries to guide us to what is right, but we fight him each step of the way.
In Romans 7 & 8, Paul describes this battle perfectly. In 7:15 he says that he wants to do what is right, but doesn’t do it. I find myself in this predicament often. I know what I’m supposed to do and still the battle rages to get me to do something else. My mind comes into play and wants me to do what is wrong. I, like Paul, don’t want to do what is wrong, but I find myself doing it anyway. In verse 21, Paul said it was a principle of life that we do that.
So how do we overcome that? What did Paul do? Romans 8 seems to have the answer.
1. Do not accept condemnation
Condemnation is different than conviction. Condemnation brings shame and guilt. That is usually put on us by others or ourselves. It brings us down and makes us feel like failures. Conviction brings life and change. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction and to steer us from spiritual dangers. When we still do what is wrong, he is there to remind us and to guide us to repentance and forgiveness.
2. Understand you have received freedom
After the Civil War, a lot of slaves stayed with their masters even though they were free. They didn’t know where to go or what to do with the freedom they had been given. We are not much different. We were born into the slavery of sin and once we were forgiven, we didn’t know how to act. We still revert back to that nature that we grew up in. Shake off those chains and walk in the freedom that you have been given. Verse 2 of chapter 8 says the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin. Walk, think and act like someone who is no longer bound by the old chains of your life.
3. Be controlled by the Spirit
Verse 5 of Romans 8 says that we are dominated by the sinful nature when we think about sinful things, but when we are controlled by the spirit we think about things that please Him. When we think on the things of God, we act on those things and they lead to life and peace.
Controlling what you think is a difficult task, but can be accomplished through the help of the Holy Spirit. Understand that you are no longer bound by the things that had you before so you can now live and act in a way that you know is right. Don’t fall for condemnation, but accept conviction and make the changes. What things are you allowing your mind to think that are keeping you from doing what you should do?