Over the past few days, I’ve been 1-2 punched by Romans and James.
First, Romans 7. This is the “I do what I don’t want to , and don’t do what I want to” chapter. I’ll put it on a lower shelf..because there are last vestiges of sin, because I am not wholly given to God, because there are parts of me not yet redeemed, the battle will rage. Even though my mind desires the right thing, the rest of me, the unredeemed parts will fight with my mind. Which is why Paul says, in 7:24, “What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?” Notice that he says “body”, alluding to the unredeemed part(s) of him. Paul is clearly stating here the intensity and length of the fight.
Now, James 1. In verses 13-15, James writes that we cannot blame God for temptations or sins. He is the Ultimate Good. Who then, is to blame? We are. We are tempted when we are dragged away by our desires and enticed, after the desire is created, sin starts and when we engage in that sin, death comes quickly. Death, the same concept that Paul wrote about in Romans 7.
What do we do when this desire entices, when the unredeemed parts start the battle? We see 2 choices in scripture that lead to life. and, as believers, these are the ones we should choose. James, in chapter 1 explains clearly what happens when we give in.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 says that we should flee from them, and insead, pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, in the midst of others who call on the Lord.
- James 4:7-8 says that we should submit to God…we should simply be obedient and the temptations will flee from us. Our submission will bring us closer to God, and as a natural result, He’ll come close to us.
So, flee or fight? When should we do which? Last night, this was a topic in our Bible study group. Enter wisdom. Are we out-gunned? Flee. If not, fight. In either of these responses, God wins! This is when we join Paul in saying “Thanks be to God!”.
Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Who does the redeeming? Jesus.
I long for the day when the redemption moves past my mind, and into my body. The battles will stop, and the war will be won.