There’s a tug of war between good and evil happening within each of our hearts; so how do you win? In this message, Pastor Jeremy DeWeerdt encourages us that the war within our souls cannot be won by our own strength, but only by the strength of the Holy Spirit in each and every one of us! The war for our souls has already been won by what Jesus did on the cross!
World War Me – Pastor Jeremy DeWeerdt
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published in 1886. This is the story of a doctor named Jekyll who tirelessly wrestled with the fact that he had TWO NATURES…
– A good nature that was moral, and an evil nature that wanted pleasure.
– And both were housed in his heart.
With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth, by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886, Chapter 10)
It was on the moral side, and in my own person that I learned to recognize the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved day-dream, on the thought of the separation of these elements.
If each, I told myself, could but be housed in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable…
Romans 7:14-25 (Msg) “I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.”
“Are we just meant to tirelessly struggle all the way to heaven?”
Being called to a standard is not abusive, especially if there is right and wrong (good and evil).
Romans 3:23 (NLT) “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
Paul discovered that he could not live right through his own power but rather through the power of the cross.
Romans 8:1-4, 9-14 (NLT) “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses [10 Commandments] was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.
But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
In other words…
Holiness is not the absence of sin but the increasing presence of God in our lives.
Discussion Questions 📝❓:
- What does the tension between the World War Me that is taking place within us look like for you personally?
- Knowing that there is battle taking place within all of us, what is your achilles heel?
- How can you partner with God’s strength to live right through the power of the cross?
- What truths from having a relationship with Jesus do you need to embrace so that you don’t strive in your own strength?