It’s a word that evokes that basic, primal reaction. Heat of the moment. Fight or flight. Nature or nurture. Which internal driving force is stronger?
We have to do battle with ourselves, against the influences in our lives. Even when we want to do good, we fail. Why? Partly due to all these things that have affected us up unto this point in our lives. But mostly, each decision we make is the culmination of our pattern of choices. Absolutely, we will have negative associations and holding patterns passed into our adult lives from our childhoods. But we have to ask ourselves, have we combated every negative experience–whether it was caused by our own hand or someone else’s–with the truth?
When we catch ourselves doing what we swore we would never do, it’s make-it-or-break-it time. It’s what Paul explains in Romans (7:15-20): 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.
It’s not who we were that’s the problem. It’s who we are now that has to make a conscious decision about who we are becoming. We were captives who called upon, and have been claimed by, our King. Let’s remind ourselves of the truth before we choose.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)