“If there is a ‘wet paint, do not touch’ sign, I am the first to touch it.” “If I get just a single dip of ice cream, it’s no big deal. I can still stick to my no-sweets-diet!” “I am jealous of a friend of mine so I feel justified putting her down.” “I know I should read the Bible, but I don’t feel like it, so I don’t.”
This list could go on and on for all of us. Our desire to do what we know is wrong does not come from God but rather from our selfish, sinful hearts. The moment Adam and Eve sinned against God’s command to obey Him, all humanity became guilty of living for ourselves rather than living for God’s glory.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).
“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'” (Mark 7:20-23).
Even the apostle Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament books, struggled, as we do, with his sin nature that was continually warring against God.
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:22-24).
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25).
In addition to living with a heart that is driven by sin comes the challenge of trying to navigate in a culture that that lures us to abandon our faith and live for the glory of Self. We live in a Humanistic, anti-God, amoral culture that entices us to live for our own pleasure and not for God’s glory. Satan is winning the war in most of our souls to not be under God’s control but rather do anything that makes us feel good. Being happy is what matters. As Satan promised Adam and Eve, we can be our own god, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3)
Amid this insanity, God continues to love us and call us to Himself to fulfill His purpose for our lives. He will never abandon us! Through our belief in Jesus, He has equipped us to fight against Satan’s schemes and bring God glory. When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us. It is through the power of God’s Spirit that we can choose not to follow our sinful nature but to do what is right in the eyes of God. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God can change our hearts when we choose to go against the culture and live for God.
We don’t lose our sin nature once we receive Christ. The Bible says that sin remains in us and that a struggle with that old nature will continue as long as we are in this world. But with God, the Holy Spirit, in us, we have divine help to overcome the pull of the sin nature within us. As Christians, we now have a choice to follow our flesh or trust God
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit” (Matthew 17:15-17).
“No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9).
God so loves and wants to have a relationship with us that He transplanted His desires into our hearts so that His desires become our desires. He took man’s desperately wicked and deceitful heart and replaced it with good that sets our heart on a path to live for and bring glory to God. Transformation happens only when we commit to God and His glory by repenting from our old selfish ways and accepting the gift of salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ. This gift from God cannot be earned by trying to be good but by placing our faith in Jesus alone. At that point, God removes our hearts of stone and replaces them with hearts of flesh.
“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 11:19-21)
What does God expect of us from now on? He wants us to strengthen our relationship with Him daily by reading the Bible and prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to give greater insight into what is required of us as He guides us to make wise decisions.
The psalmist says, “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of our heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun” (Psalm 37:4-6).