Satan is a master strategist! First he seeks to make us careless so that we call into sin. Failing that he sends us strong temptation and seek to make us careful (in the sense of full of care) as to whether or not we are God children, even when we resist the temptations. How can we deal with that second temptation? Today’s devotional will give you the ammunition you need. God bless you.
Because of Calvary,
Romans 7:14-25 (ESV)
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 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. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 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.
“Sanctification…is a thing which does not prevent a man having a great deal of inward spiritual conflict. By conflict I mean a struggle within the heart between the old nature and the new, the flesh and the spirit, which are to be found together in every believer (Gal. v.17). A deep sense of that struggle, and a vast amount of mental discomfort from it, are no proof that a man is not sanctified. Nay, rather, I believe they are healthy symptoms of our condition, and prove that we are not dead, but alive. A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience but war within… What I say is confirmed by the language of St. Paul in the seventh chapters of Romans. That chapter I commend to the careful study of all my readers. I am quite satisfied that it does not describe the experience of an unconverted man, or of a young and unestablished Christian; but of an old experienced saint in close communion with God. None but such a man could say, ‘I delight in the law of God after the inward man’ (Rom. vii.22). I believe, furthermore, that what I say is proved by the experience of all the most eminent servants of Christ that have ever lived. The full proof is to be seen their journals, their autobiographies, and their lives. ― Believing all this, I shall never hesitate to tell people that inward conflict is no proof that a man is not holy, and that they must not think they are not sanctified because they do not feel entirely free from inward struggle. Such freedom we shall doubtless have in heaven; but we shall never enjoy it in this world. The heart of the best Christian, even at his best, is a field occupied by two rival camps…” [J. C. Ryle, Holiness, (London: James Clarke & Co. Ltd., n.d.), p. 21]
“But what is this darkness of your mind? Is it caused by a fierce struggle within you? Are you crying out, ‘I cannot understand how it is; but, ever since I have been a Christian, I have felt my sin rising within me more than ever I did before; I am fighting from day to day to keep a hold on goodness at all’? Listen, dear friend; this is frequently the experience of a true child of God that, as soon as, ever the new life is put into him, the old life begins to struggle against it. I dare to say that there never was a real Christian, who has not had, in some measure at least, to cry out with Paul, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shal1 deliver me from the body of this death!’ They who say that, the apostle was no Christian when he said that make me suspect whether they are themselves Christians, or have had any experience of what God’s children have to undergo. The truth, is that, the more we seek holiness, the more we learn that we are not as holy as we want to be; and, the man who is as good as he wants to be is not good at all. He who has climbed so high that he does not want to get any higher had better begin at the bottom, for he is under a sad delusion. So, be encouraged by the conflict in your heart, and even take comfort from it; be of good cheer, knowing that, as Christ overcame the world, and sin, and Satan, you also shall overcome them, and be able to sing, ‘Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’” [Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit XLVII, (London: Passmore and Alabaster, 1901), p. 68-69]
“This inward conflict between opposing principles constitutes the very distinction between the regenerate and the unregenerate, and forms part of the recorded experience of the most advanced, and elevated, and spiritually minded believers. Freedom from this conflict is not to be expected here by any child of God.” [Ralph Wardlaw in Gray & Adams Bible Commentary V edited by James C. Gray and George M. Adams, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1903), p. 41]