Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh

Q. How come I can hear what God is saying to me and know when I need to do something, but often I cannot act on it. I can’t seem to get my body under control. I understand that its not my works but my belief, which is that I’m redeemed by Jesus and what he did, it just really frustrates me.

A. First, let me commend you for your honesty. Many Christians fool themselves into thinking they’re doing just fine in the sin department and a few actually claim to have stopped sinning altogether. 1 John 1:8 was written to them; “If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

As Jesus told His disciples, “The spirit is willing but the body is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Because of our sin nature, making the body obedient to the spirit is a life long challenge that takes constant practice. In 1 Cor. 9:24-27 Paul compared the process to that of an Olympic athlete in training.

But remember, if God is calling us to do something, He’ll also give us the strength to do it. We have to take the first few steps in faith, but He’ll make up the difference if we run out of steam. His strength is perfected in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:6).

In the meantime we can take heart in the fact that when we do fail, God does not count it against us. Paul also said, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:18-20). Then he said, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) Praise the Lord!

“Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed are they whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).

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