The Old Life Is Still There!

Bill Brinkworth

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” Romans 7:15-20

Last January, I cut down many small trees and brush in hopes of building a new garden there in the future.  My friend and I stacked them in a large pile to burn later.

Three months later, I got the opportunity to burn that well-dried pile of brush and trees.  As I was feeding the “dead” cut limbs into the fire, I noticed something very unusual.  Most of the old foliage, except the pines, had started sprouting buds, and in some cases littles wisps of green leaves were showing.  I thought they were dead even before they were cut down, but there was still life in those old limbs. The plants must have been feeding off stored sugars in their branches, even though they were long severed from their roots.

This curiosity reminds me of the dilemma that most Christians battle their whole life.  They may have accepted Christ as their Saviour; even repented of most of their sins, but every once in a while, their old sinful habits, thoughts, and actions rear their ugly heads.

We may be saved from the wages of our sins on the inside, and forgiven by our Creator for our iniquities against Him, but we still have the same flesh we were born with.  Our flesh still would like to sin. If we do not keep a tight rein on our flesh, it will certainly take back its control and do what it wants, rather than what the indwelling Spirit of God desires us to do.

It is a battle that we all face.  When we least expect it, our old life can pop up and try to grow.  That is why those saved and serving God for a long time can fall as quickly as those that were saved for a shorter time. If a little sin is allowed to creep in, anyone can fall.  Temptation or sin allows the old ways to attempt to flourish in our lives again.  The “old man” (Rom. 6:6) in us will come back to life if we let him.

With God’s help we can avoid many temptations by obeying His commandments,  having a regular prayer life, and feeding daily on the Word of God.  It is possible to limit the damage done by our old sinful nature. Being stronger spiritually is the only way to keep one of our main enemies, our own flesh, under subjection. 

We can be victorious in living the way the Lord desires. He would not command us to do something that is not possible. Our old, sinful nature does not have to be fed.  Make the right spiritual decisions.  Do not give in to the flesh’s desires.
“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Mat. 26:41

“If you were perfect, your first name would be “Jesus,” and you would have holes in your hands!”


Other verses about the weakness of our flesh:
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Gen. 6:5
“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Mat. 12:43-45
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.” Mt 15:19
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” Rom. 7:18
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Philippians 3:3

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