Civil War

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the
members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members
. Romans 7:22-23

I’m so glad this verse is in the Bible. I don’t like what it says, but at least it gives me insight into some of my struggles.

There is a civil war raging inside the heart and mind of every Christ-follower. The war is over control of the flesh—our earthly, carnal instincts that draw us toward sin. It’s the gravitational pull of human depravity, and it’s got one powerful attraction. Paul could not describe the battle in more fitting terms.

In our minds we joyfully agree with God’s law. We love him and want very much to please him. The things he hates we hate. We despise what sin did to his Son and the chaos it brings to our lives. Our minds and spirits are completely aligned with God.

But not our flesh. Paul says there is a different force at work there. It’s the law of sin that holds our “members” captive. It titillates our senses, arouses our base instincts and ignites the fires of selfish desire within us. The result is a massive (and exhausting) civil war.

On the one hand our heart pushes us to take the high road and live fully disciplined and submitted Christian lives. On the other hand our flesh cries out like a spoiled child demanding immediate gratification. And like the mixture of hot and cold air masses, the result is one bumpy and potentially dangerous combination.

Like I said, I don’t really like what this verse says, but I’m sure glad it’s in the Bible. I want to think that I’m beyond sin’s pull. I like to see myself as a super Christian who never stumbles. I want to project the image of the all-together Jesus dude.

Guess what: I’m not. This Jesus dude is frequently a Jesus dud. I succumb to the pull of sin on more occasions than I even realize. What I write off as personality (or lack thereof), Jesus calls sin. I’m in a civil war, and I lose battles daily. The only good news is that I’m in good company. The Apostle Paul had the same struggle.

Friends, there is no ultimate freedom from sin this side of heaven. As long as you draw breath you will battle sin. That fact is not, however, a permit to quit trying.

The command to “be holy as God is holy” still stands. Thank God for the grace that prevails when our attempts to be holy are killed in action. It’s a tough and daily battle. Thank Jesus for his mercy.


©2014 Will Davis Jr. Originally posted at