“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:15
Have you ever dealt with a craving or a temptation that you could just not “convince” yourself to stay away from no matter how many good arguments and plans you held against it? The other day at a graduation party, a woman said to me, “I have been thinking I need to move in with you so I can get myself off refined sugars.” That may sound ridiculous to you if have never tried to rid your diet of sugars, but there is an addiction our body develops for these quick carbs and withdrawal symptoms ensue when you start removing them from your diet – it is a tough battle and one I struggle with myself at times even though I don't surround myself with enticements to that temptation.
My friend was of course not serious about moving in with me since she has a family of her own to care for, but she was highlighting a course of action that helps when battling temptations – avoiding the temptation and getting encouragement to prevent caving with future enticements. And a well thought out plan is a great way to combat any temptation in life, yet application of those types of plans are usually difficult since life needs to be lived where temptations abound.
The question we are left with then is, What are we to do when we know we must change things about our nature which drag us down and we can't seem to do it on our own? Do we shut ourselves off from the world and live a secluded life away from every temptation that entices our sinful nature? Or, do we throw our hands up and give up on the thought of ever conquering our battle? We do neither as children of the Lord. Instead, we put our will to make choices under the obedience of Christ Jesus and we allow His Spirit to be our encouragement and His protection over our mind to be our sanctuary while we continue to live in a world where temptation abound.
Hear what Oswald Chambers has to say in that effect:
“The thing in you which makes you say 'I shan't' is something less profound than your will; it is perversity, or obstinacy, and they are never in agreement with God...Obstinacy is an unintelligent 'wedge' that refuses to be enlightened; the only thing if for it to be blown up with dynamite, and the dynamite is obedience to the Holy Spirit.”
On our own we are bound to give into the temptations of this world. Our will fights against obedience in any way to any thing. Yet, in obedience we have freedom over the temptations of the world. The Holy Spirit that Jesus offers is stronger than our will and has the ability to “keep [us] from stumbling” (Jude 24). Obedience begins with submission and an open heart to the lessons God whispers to you each day. Be ready and watchful today if you desire to overcome the world and all of the temptations it throws at you. Each one Jesus has already declared victory over, and that victory can be ours too if we believe in His ability to help us overcome.