“I must be Schizophrenic,” you say.  “What other explanation could there be?”

“II Cor. 5:17 says that when a person is in Christ, he or she becomes a new creation; that old things pass away and everything becomes new.  If that’s true, then why haven’t I changed, why do I still act so awful?”

I used to ask the same questions.  When I received Jesus I expected old habits and patterns to change.  But they didn’t.  Part of me wanted to do what was right while another very strong and unrelenting part was pulling me in the opposite direction.

The Apostle Paul understood the problem.  In Romans 7:15 he said, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.”

Praise God, Paul did not leave us there feeling helpless and hopeless.  There’s more to the story and it’s good.  There is a way to be free of habits and the life patterns that are holding you hostage. The requirement for this freedom, quit trying and start resting.  To understand that, you must first answer the question, what became new when you were born again?

1Thes. 5:23 says that we are made up of three parts, Spirit, Soul and Body.  We all understand how the body works.  It has five senses, more if you include things like hunger and they all keep us very aware of its’ every need and want.  The real confusion comes in separating the Spirit and Soul.  I was taught that the two were the same thing and could be used interchangeably.  But, when I read Hebrews 4:12, it became obvious that was not the case.

As I studied I learned that the Soul is made up of the mind, will and emotions.  It’s that part of you where you think, feel, make choices and spend most of your time.  The Spirit is the part of you that is made new when you are born again.  Within it your moral character resides.  In fact, it’s perfect.  I John 1:23 says that the newly created Spirit on the inside of you cannot sin.  Wow! “

Now I feel even worse,” you say.  “I try and I try, but I keep doing the same things over and over.  Everyone tells me, live for Jesus and just stop doing the things you know are wrong.  But it’s not working.”  The frustration you’re feeling with old habits and behaviors is not unique.  There is nothing wrong with you.  It’s the result of the battle that is raging on the inside of you between the Spirit and the flesh. (The flesh is the combination of the Soul and Body)

Galatians 5:16-17 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

The answer: quit living for Jesus and start living in Him.  Living for Jesus means depending on your own strength.  Living in Him means depending on His strength.  Jesus understood this.  Although He was God in the flesh, He still depended on God the Father.

Jesus said this in John 14:10, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?  The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.”  Jesus never trusted in His own strength.  He was God, yes, but completely human, tempted in every way like us.

Hebrews tells us to enter into the rest.  There, you will walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  The things you desired but were unable to produce through your own strength will manifest effortlessly.   Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control will become the rule instead of the exception in your life.

We love you,

Jim & Shirley

Like what you read? Leave a comment below!

A Changed Heart – A Changed Mind

Tuesdays were counseling day. My receptionist knocked on the door rather early, 8:30 am, and ushered in a middle-aged woman. We’ll call her Judith. Business dress, classy with just the right balance of jewelry and makeup. Appeared to be a very successful and...

The Heart is a Canvas

  Raising children is neither a science or a mathematical equation to be solved, it’s an art.   When your children are born, think of their hearts like a canvas, awaiting the brush strokes of an artist.  And God made no mistake when he chose you to be the artist...

Is Consequence a Good Teacher?

Have you ever heard a parent say, “Well, I guess he will just have to learn his lesson the hard way.”  I have, and it always makes me cringe because the hard way can be far more than you bargained for. Should children learn that the gas flames on the stove are hot by...

Reflections in the Mirror

  As April looked intently into the foggy mirror above the bathroom sink; she could not imagine how God could possibly love the woman whose image she saw in the reflection. The replay button of her mind seemed stuck in the on position; constantly reminding her of...

Adolescence – Fact or Fiction?

  Educators, psychologists and other proponents of adolescence have managed to convince the world that teenagers are unable to make good decisions and if not closely supervised would live irresponsible undisciplined lives.  Sigmund Freud wrote this in an essay he...

I must be Schizophrenic

  “I must be Schizophrenic,” you say.  “What other explanation could there be?” “II Cor. 5:17 says that when a person is in Christ, he or she becomes a new creation; that old things pass away and everything becomes new.  If that’s true, then why haven’t I...

Free Man or Slave?

  Who’s your task master?  Who brings the whip down when you fail to perform? For the children of Israel it became the Egyptians.  They certainly didn’t start out as slaves.  In fact, God delivered them from a severe famine through Joseph.  Now living in Egypt,...

A Bridge of Love Rebuilt

“Great Grandma,” he said as he reached to wrap his arms around her neck for a big hug. “You know what?”  “What Justin?”  “This has been the best Christmas ever.”  She leaned forward in her arm chair and with the biggest grandma squeeze she could muster, said. “Well, I...

Remembering

Goose bumps quickly formed on my arms and legs from the water.  How the water could be so cold in such a hot country was beyond me, but it did serve as inspiration to soap up as fast as possible.  And then, as if on cue, the water pressure suddenly dropped and reduced...

It Was Easier for Your Parents, Right?

  If you were to ask a young parent, do you think raising your children is more difficult today than it was for your parents, most would answer yes.  They would immediately point to the conditions of our society and the many temptations facing their children. ...

Father to Son

I watched you struggling to stay on all fours when you were learning to crawl.  I reached out to catch you when you took your first steps and ran alongside as you rode your bike for the first time without training wheels. Your first base hit, winning the grueling 800...

Don’t Wait Any Longer

The male nurse lifted him from the reclined chair and laid him in the hospital bed with little effort.  This once proud man often boasted of his six foot, 180 pound physic which had been reduced to 102 pounds of skin and bones.  The colostomy bag and catheter had...

“Why, Grandpa?” Sandy Hook Elementary

  “Why would someone do that Grandpa?”  That was the question my grandson asked me the evening of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It’s a question that myriads of experts will attempt to answer in the weeks and months to come.  I answered this way,...

What Do Children Really Need?

Exhausted, Michael lay in bed with his eyes wide open unable to sleep.  The plans for tomorrow and worries about the future were racing through his mind as they so often did late at night.  Sharon was sound asleep; she too was exhausted and hadn’t moved a muscle in...

Help Wanted – Father with Shepherd’s Heart

  No experience necessary - must be willing to learn - on call 24/7 - only those willing to give their life need apply – not for the faint of heart Most jobs require some experience or at least an apprenticeship under the watchful eye of a journeyman.  However,...