The Apostle Paul - “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t! I do what I don’t want to - what I hate! I know perfectly well what I’m doing is wrong… but I can’t help myself! It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.” (Romans 7:15-17)

In the scripture above, Paul is writing about a spiritual battle in which he is involved. However, at this point, that battle is not with the devil or with devilish people (although he certainly had those types of spiritual conflicts). He’s referring to a battle within himself. The Bible teaches that Christians are constantly struggling with the flesh, the world, and the devil. Many times, the biggest struggle Christians have is with our flesh, our sinful nature, our predisposition towards selfishness and sin.

It’s our sinful nature that makes us want to lie, steal, cheat, hurt others, deceive, hoard, and overtly focus on our own personal, physical, and emotional pleasures. We all struggle with our flesh at times. And we desperately need the Holy Spirit’s help to overcome our sinful natures. That’s why the Apostle Paul writes, “Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.” (Galatians 5:16-17).

The Apostle Paul also writes, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these.” (Galatians 5:19-21) What was just mentioned are destructive habits. Yet those kinds of habits occur in people’s lives when they continue to live by their sinful nature rather than by their new natures and the new ways the Lord has given them to live. However, those of us who have come this far in these devotions have decided to live supernatural lives. To do this, we must acknowledge the struggles that keep us living unnatural lives. Over the next few days, we will first learn why we struggle with our sinful nature, even after the Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives. Then, we will learn how giving in to our sinful natures affects our lives. Finally, we will learn how to daily overcome our sinful natures so we can win our daily battles with our flesh.

Followup Activity - In your journal or on a piece of paper, write out today’s focus verse - Romans 7:15-17. Read it before each meal you eat today. Then, as you pray over your meal, ask the Lord to help you acknowledge your own fleshly desires so you can grow closer to Him. If you are leading your family through this devotion time, dialogue with them about the meaning of the scripture, then encourage each member to write out Romans 7:15-17 and to follow the prayer guidelines shared above.

Prayer for Today - Lord, help me to acknowledge my struggles to You so I can live a supernatural life in and through You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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