Okay, here goes…
We all have a human nature and sometimes it gets the best of us. It happened to me the other day. It really did! I’ll be transparent because I’m thinking that someone out there needs to hear this message.
I’m not an authority by any means, but I feel like I need to share this.
I’ve been writing and teaching Bible studies for years. I’ve led a ministry, worked at a church, walked with Christ for the majority of my life, and ministered to countless women. But none of that exempts me from a human side prone to temptation.
In fact, the Bible is filled with flawed characters – people who allowed their human nature to control their words and actions. One person in particular is the Apostle Paul. He was the greatest evangelist to ever walk this earth and he wrote over half the New Testament. Believers in that day respected him. We admire him.
But listen to what Paul said: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:18-19).
Can you relate? Does this make you feel like you are not alone?
I tell you! It’s hard being a writer and teacher of the Word of God. Because I’m often called upon to write from my own experiences. I write about what God teaches me through my own weaknesses.
The other day, some things were said to me. I disagreed! I felt a deep pain searing through my heart. I felt like asking, “Really? Truly? That’s what you perceived?” And then it was sort of blown out of proportion.
So rather than let my spiritual nature win, my human nature went into overdrive. And we know that when our humanness rises to the surface, it’s usually not a good thing. I got upset. It wasn’t the words I said, but it was the way I handled the situation.
No one was blessed. And my heart grew harder.
That’s when I knew I needed to listen to God. He reminded me of a few things. Here’s what He said:
1. Our human nature DOES NOT have to win!
Paul goes on to claim victory over his sinful nature in the passage we just observed. Paul says, “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).
YAY! Victory has already been granted to us through Jesus.
Even when we want to sin, we don’t have to. It boils down to a choice. Will we choose to follow Jesus or follow our human nature? I know we’ve all obeyed the flesh at one time or another – like I did the other day – but this gives us hope that we can be free to do what’s right.
2. Deal with it immediately!
If we don’t take care of it immediately, then relationships will be harder to restore and the brokenness will only widen. Our hearts will just get further and further away from God.
It will be more difficult to hear God speaking.
So, I decided that I wouldn’t let another minute go by without dealing with it. And this is what I did: I ran to the cross – the place where true freedom lies. God’s not mad at us. He understands humanness because He became a man. Jesus never sinned, but He knows all about our human side.
We need to fall at the cross. I laid down on the ground and told God how sorry I was. I asked Him to cleanse my heart from all wrongdoing and asked Him to clean up all the filth permeating in my heart. It didn’t take long for purity to soak in again. I felt like I had been given a bath. I felt clean.
Dealing with it immediately is one of the best things we can do when we’ve allowed our flesh to rule.
3. Set your mind on good things!
Ponder these words: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).
When someone doesn’t act like us, walk like us, and talk like us, it’s really easy to focus on their flaws. When someone has hurt us by their words or actions, it’s easy to focus on the things we don’t like about them. The things that annoy us.
Putting our focus on the negative things only deepens the sin in our lives. We become judgmental. And the anger will continue to grow like a cancer.
As I write this, there’s a fly that keeps buzzing my head. He’s so annoying. As soon as I get a chance, I will swat him. That’s what we should do with our negative thoughts – SWAT THEM until they are dead.
So today, I’m trying to change my thought pattern. When a negative thought comes into my mind, I try to replace it with a positive one. And, of course, I’m focusing on all the good things God has done in my life.
Following these principles will help us resolve the sin issue much quicker. And isn’t that we really want?
I’m always a work in progress, and so are you. We won’t be free of our sinful nature until we have been given our glorified bodies in heaven. But until then, we need to keep on top of it so it doesn’t spiral out of control.
I hope today’s post has been encouraging and helpful to you. Please share it with others. And please share your comments below.