Being a follower of Christ is hard but it’s not something Christians say out loud very often. To admit that our faith doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy all the time seems almost like blasphemy. And that realization scares some of us.
So, what is it that makes being a Christian so hard and difficult? It would be almost heroic or glamorous if it were because of persecution or oppression. But here in our own little part of the world, that’s just not the case for most of us. If truth be told, it’s the struggle within our hearts where we find the root of our difficulty.
In other words, it’s the two natures — the old and new — that are at odds with each other, something we deal with on a daily basis.
The apostle Paul was very aware of this internal struggle. In fact, he wrote extensively about this subject in Romans 7:7-23. In this passage Paul describes how his inner being is filled with the presence of two opposing ideas, attitudes, or emotions, and how they both exist within him at the same time.
Most believers understand the dilemma Paul is writing about. Just like Paul, we, too, are confused as to why we sometimes give in to the old nature. After all, if we’re aware of what is good and holy, why do we not obey that which is good and holy?
The answer is simple: humans, by nature, are not good. Scripture describes human nature as sexually immoral, unclean, dishonest, filled with idolatry and witchcraft, possessing hatred and conflict, jealousy, rage, selfishness, rebellion, division, envy, drunkenness, and orgies. And it’s this human nature that keeps us from inheriting the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
Since this is the condition of human nature, how then is it possible to overcome the bondage of sin? Paul answers this question with a triumphant expression, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
Believing and accepting Christ as our Savior does not mean believers are now free from inner struggles. Sin still has the power to deceive us and to cause us to trust in ourselves. And this will be our human condition until we die or until Christ comes back.
But what it does mean is that sin is no longer our master. We don’t have to give in to it. We are new creations in Christ and through him we have the power to overcome temptation and sin and live a life pleasing to God.
So let every believer echo Paul’s shout of victory, for we have been set free from the bondage of sin. And for that we say, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Donna Hughey is an award winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.