Spiritual StrugglesWhen you struggle spiritually, how do you react?
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I live in a neighborhood where people mow their lawns, plant flowers, and clean up after their dogs. But sometimes at night, we hear eerie noises. I'm not talking about the neighbor's beagle yelping at the moon. This is creepy howling that is totally untamed. For our neighborhood is plagued by coyotes.
Sometimes when they wake me up, I lie there and think about the coyote wildness inside us. We all have it, it's part of our spiritual DNA. Paul explained it this way: "There is [a] power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me" (Romans 7:23). Paul's transparency helps us see that even Christians who walk with God struggle with unruliness in their souls.
Fortunately, he also reminds us that we have no obligation to do what our sinful nature urges us to do (8:12). If you're like me, you might forget that you have a choice, you don't have to listen to the whispers of your wild side: A few more glasses of wine won't hurt. . . .
Just glancing at that woman is no big deal . . . While we do have a choice when it comes to sin, we can't make the right call consistently without the power of the Holy Spirit. As believers in Jesus, we have God's Holy Spirit alive within us, but we have to allow Him to do His job. Paul said, "Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves" (Galatians 5:16).
Untamed, like those coyotes, "the [sin nature] never did obey God's laws and it never will" (Romans 8:7). With the Holy Spirit's help, we can exchange our reckless tendencies for God's peace, a better option than lying awake at night, listening to the call of the wild. , Jennifer Benson Schuldt
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