Galatians 5:19-21 describes our natural state, and as we examine ourselves before Passover, we see some of these carnal tendencies still lurking in the recesses of our minds. What can we do?
In 2 Timothy 1:6-7 Paul describes the antidote. God's Spirit gives us the help we need, but we must stir it up—rekindle the flame till it is blazing within us. It is not a spirit of timidity or cowardice, "but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
When we admit we need added help and ask God for it, the Holy Spirit helps provide the willpower we lack (Philippians 2:13). It also provides the divine love of God that allows us to obey God's law and take action to clean out the dark catacombs of our minds (Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 13). And it helps us to have a sound mind (self-control, RSV; self-discipline, NIV).
All this help is available, if we seek to be "renewed day by day" by God's Spirit (2 Corinthians 4:16).
(Based on a sermon by Richard Pinelli, Feb. 8, 2003, to the Cincinnati East congregation.)