The War Within

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The War Within

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Part of us wants to do what is right; the other part wants to do what is wrong. We can often feel like a war is being fought inside of us. The wrong can feel very right, while the right thing sometimes feels wrong. However, we cannot judge the moral value of any action by how we feel. Our feelings are often unreliable and cannot be trusted to always convey truth.

A Christian frequently feels conflicted by wanting to do right and wrong at the same time. Through God's Holy Spirit, though, the renewed mind craves holiness and righteousness. The carnal mind (our flesh) craves worldly things. The apostle Paul describes feeling that same way in Romans 7:15, "For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns].” (Amplified Bible)

Paul goes on to explain in this same chapter that he has the intention or urge to do what is right, but fails to do it. He fails to practice the good, and instead does evil, or the wrong. He comes to realize, though, that only Jesus Christ can deliver him from "fleshy" actions. As we study Paul's life, we see that he learned how to say no to himself. We all need to develop the ability to say no to ourselves. If what we are doing does not agree with God's word, it is wrong! This is often a hard task, but we can do it, because God's Holy Spirit gives us strength to do so. Paul learned to lean on God for strength and then use his will to choose the right, no matter how he felt. Paul said he died daily, to his fleshly desires, in order to glorify God. (1 Corinthians 15:31)

Paul made a choice to obey God and walk in the spirit rather than the flesh. Now, believe me, I understand that "dying to self" sounds unpleasant and even painful. However, the truth is that we must die to ourselves if we want to genuinely live the lives God has provided for us through Jesus Christ. 

When we are willing to live by God's principles rather than fleshly emotion, we are taking important steps in removing selfish ambition and will enjoy the abundant life God desires for us. "No pain, no gain" is a popular phrase, but the truth is that truly every good thing in life requires some investment, as well as sacrifice, (which, again, is usually painful) before we ever see the reward. It's not that all emotion is bad, but clearly we can be very reactive if we allow it to run our lives.

Exercise, for example, is painful, but produces the reward of fitness. Saving money means denying ourselves some of the things we want, but the reward is financial security. Working through difficult relationships eventually provides the reward of having great companions.

We must learn to live by the new nature God is developing in us, while denying self. We cannot stay controlled by our emotions. We can and must do something about it. The Bible tells us in Hosea 4:6 that, "people perish for the lack of knowledge." We all want more stability in our lives; we can have that by not letting our emotions run us, but by ruling over them and we can do that with God's help.

For more on helpful reading see the free Bible study aid, Making Life Work.


  • raj55
    Thanks for the great article. The war within may be stopped by praying to know the Lord's will each moment. ' ..mejor te es entrar a la vida cojo, que teniendo dos pies ser echado en el infierno ..' ( Marcos- 9-45 ). Prayers.
  • macnana
    There is always a war of right and wrong in every living being that dwell on the face of the earth. Paul urges us that we must not let our human nature to control us but we should rather use our renew mind made by reading the Bible and doing what is good to take rather control of us. Greetings from Ghana!!!
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