More Than, “Just Say No”

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” Colossians 2:23 NLT

Conquering evil and the snares of our sinful nature is something that has been a challenge since creation. Someone once observed, “we make our choices and then our choices make us.” We see that principle played out in many ways and even in our current society with various scandals in Hollywood, politics and the media.

If you have lived very long, you understand that will power often gives way to the power of our natural desires. We even see the Apostle Paul describing the struggle between the flesh and the Spirit in his words to the Romans.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. “ (Romans 7:18,19 NLT)

So, the bottom line is we can’t will our way out of temptation and live a life that is pleasing to God. But we see the hope that Christ provides

Paul says to the Colossians, “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world.” (Colossians 2:20 NLT)

We we surrender our life to Christ, He gives us a new life and places His Spirit in our lives. Paul’s discourse in Colossians presents some interesting dichotomies. He begins by saying, “you were dead in your transgressions and sins” but have been made alive in Christ. He then says, you are dead. Alive in Christ, but dead to the world and the bondage of the sinful nature.

Paul to the Romans said, “you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11 NLT) To the Galatians Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NIV)

Right after Paul shares with the Romans about the struggle between the flesh and Spirit, he makes the great declaration that counters the failure of shame with the words, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1,2 NLT)

When it comes to our greatest challenge in life, the battle with our own nature, the victory does not come from our will power, but from embracing what Christ has done for us and understanding the new life and new strength that comes from His forgiveness and His Holy Spirit at work in our lives.