“18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells 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 dwells 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?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:18-25
I remember a few years back I was under a terrible bondage. Daily I would have that “wretched man” moment the Apostle Paul speaks of in Romans 7:24. For to will was present with me. My will was to perform that which was good but did not know how to perform that which was good…I found it not. This bondage dominated me and caused me to do that which I would not do. Truly, I delighted in the Law of God after the inward man but the law in my members, that which I declared and decreed I WOULD NOT do, brought me into captivity…daily. O’ wretched man that I was!! I wanted to stop smoking. With my mind, I served the Law of God but my flesh served the law of sin. Who shall deliver me?
Then there came a day. This day started just like everyday before. I struggled with trying to quit, wanting to quit, after this cigarette I’ll quit and repeat again. However, this particular day I had to choose. Although at the time I did not realize what I was choosing. Keep reading and I will try to explain.
I was just beginning to understand what many of us refer to as the “Message of the Cross”, which is in fact faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified for Salvation AND dominion over our sin nature in our daily living. That day I was seeking the Lord for deliverance of cigarettes and I remember coming to a point of decision. Only now do I have a better understanding of this decision. In other words, exactly what I was deciding between.
You see, again – I was doing that which I willed not to do but could not overthrow nicotine’s dominion. The law in my members was warring against the law of my mind which delighted in the law of God….O’ wretched man! I realize now the fear/anxiety I felt at this point of decision that day in prayer, was not unbelief in IF God would deliver me from nicotine…I KNEW He would, but the realization of WHEN He delivered me from nicotine, I would no longer have my cigarettes. Oh my goodness…the reality of not having a cigarette ever again terrified this flesh of mine!! My fear was not if God would deliver me but the fact that He would deliver. Was I truly ready to give up my cigarettes?
Praise be to God, that day in my living room I allowed God to take my cigarettes from me. It is not God’s Will that His Children be bound by anything – nicotine, alcohol, pornography, religion, etc.. Because of our faith in what Jesus Christ accomplished on Calvary’s Cross for Salvation and dominion over our sin nature (Sanctification), the Holy Spirit is commissioned and ready to take that bondage from us (Romans 8:2)…but we have to allow Him.
“21 If so be that you have heard Him, and have been taught by Him, as the Truth is in Jesus:
22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24.
Put off the old man. The new man is created after God in righteousness and holiness. If your faith is in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, Who He is and what He has done on Calvary’s Cross, God will take that bondage if you will allow Him. Will you say yes to God? Are you willing to allow Him to take it…whatever “it” may be?
-Donna Clark Warren