• Thomas Strausbaugh

The Struggle is Real - Part 1

I ask you to begin this post by reading this passage carefully. Sometimes, when we see long passages we just skip over them. Don’t do that! This passage is loaded with important truths that will help us as we go forward to victory over the struggles of life.

Romans 7:14-25 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Can you see the struggle?

Flesh against spirit, spirit against flesh. He said that he wanted to do good, do right, but evil was present with him. When he set out to do good, he did evil. When he determined to avoid evil, he fell into the trap anyway.

It’s as if the author was writing my biography 1,900 years before I was born. I want to say to Paul, “Bro, I know what you’re talking about! The struggle is real!” I believe many of us can empathize with Paul.

I remind you of who is writing this passage. It’s the Apostle Paul! Yes, even some of the greatest of Christians that ever lived had struggles. Paul had struggles with his flesh, John the Baptist struggled with doubt, Peter struggled with the fear of man, Elijah struggled with depression, David struggled with lust, Abraham struggled with worry, John Mark struggled with worldliness, Moses struggled with anger, Gideon struggled with fear, and the list could go on and on.

If Paul and John the Baptist and Moses had inward struggles, there is great hope for us! We are in good company.

As blood-bought, born-again, believers we have a hard time admitting we have struggles. We allow our pride to keep us from seeking help. We feel embarrassed that we struggle with anger. We feel defeated everytime we give in to lust. We don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel of worry and fear. I am thankful that Paul was humble enough to share with us the battle that he was facing. Paul was honest with himself and was able to admit that he couldn’t fight the battle alone.

“O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

Romans 7 can be considered one of the deepest valleys of the New Testament. As Paul is writing of his struggle with the flesh, he pictures the battle each of us are going through. This life is a battle!

Paul illustrates it for us in Galatians.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

I see 2 very important truths in that verse we just read.

First, there is a flesh. Each of us has a flesh. That flesh is corrupt, deceitful, and sinful. Our flesh hates God. Our flesh loves sin. When we were born into this world, we inherited a sin nature from Adam. It’s a built-in feature for the human race. Thankfully, when we trusted Jesus Christ as our Saviour, the bondage of that sin-nature was broken. PRAISE GOD! However, we still have a flesh. When we were saved our flesh didn’t get saved. Our flesh is still very much opposed to God.

But I also see that there is a Spirit. Galatians 5:17 speaks of the Holy Spirit. When we were saved, the Holy Spirit of God took up residence in our lives. He lives in us! The Bible teaches us that every Christian is permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

This means that we don’t have to fight alone!

Being saved does not eliminate the battle with the flesh but it does give us the ability to see victory over the struggles of this life. If you are reading this today and have never trusted Christ, you are already defeated. Before reading any further, visit this page on our website to learn how to be saved.

The point of this series is to help us understand that we are not alone in the struggles of life. Whether we deal with greed, insecurity, lust, anger, jealousy, pride, bitterness, or doubt, we are not alone. We have the testimony of dozens of saints in the Bible that there is real victory in Christ.

I mentioned earlier that Romans 7 is considered one of the deepest valleys in the New Testament. This same passage that pictures the hopeless battle with the flesh is followed up by one of the most encouraging chapters in the Bible. Consider a few verses that will be an encouragement to you in the battle.

Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Romans 8:15-17 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:37-39 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you can tell, I almost posted the whole chapter! This is good stuff folks! Don’t give up. You have the Spirit of God dwelling in you and because of that, you can see the kind of victory we read of in Romans 8.

Take some time over the next few weeks and read Romans 7 and 8 a few times. Have confidence in the Lord, knowing that He is on your team. The struggle is real, but there is great victory in Jesus!

The point of this first post is not to be a “how-to” on having victory. Rather, my prayer is that you would realize that victory is only found in Jesus because of His work on Calvary and His Holy Spirit living within you.

You can have victory. There is hope.

The struggle is real, but there is victory in Jesus!