For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Doesn’t this struggle within us just show us how much we need Jesus? Even when we hate the sin within us, sometimes we just end up doing something wrong. Even when the desire within us is strong to follow after righteousness, we fail to do something we know we should. Our desires and intentions may be good and right, but as long as we live here on this earth, we still have that pull and tug toward sin. No matter how much we don’t want to, we still mess up and fall short at times.
So then when we are so keenly aware of this battle within, when we recognize the war waging between spirit and flesh, we can do some things to sway the outcome in righteousness’s favor. The first and most important is to dwell in Christ. Without His Spirit working within us, we have no chance in the fight against the flesh. Left on our own, we are fighting tanks with slingshots. But when we abide in Him, His power goes before us in those battles so that we can resist temptation or make the wiser choice or forsake something that would drag us down. With Jesus so close, He can overcome those exact things that we would stumble over on our own.
We must also abide in God’s Word. This is our weapon and our defense when fighting the battle of good versus evil. Scripture reveals to us those things that are displeasing to God and what He delights in. So when we are aware of what He hates and what He loves, we can make better choices. He will illuminate the path we are to follow, the kinds of things we are to do and what we need to stop doing. And by immersing ourselves in His pure and holy truth, we will be equipping ourselves to face the lies of the devil and the illusions that sin uses to entice us. As we grow in the wisdom of His Word, we strengthen our hearts and minds against those fleshly and sinful desires.
We don’t have to lose the battle within and continually fall into sin in our lives. We don’t have to give in to every temptation or make the wrong choice every time. God doesn’t want us to continue in this weakened state, but to grow stronger through Him so that we are able to fend off attacks and endure the trials and become more like Him through it all. We must rely on Him, though, because on our own we’ll never break out of this cycle of doing what we wish we wouldn’t and failing to do what we know we should.