This is the first installment in our new Bible study series, “The Struggle”. I’ll cover a few of the struggles I had/have and share the scriptures that help me when I’m riding shotgun on the struggle bus. Your struggles may be the same as mine…we’ll get through ’em together.
Good morning, peeps!
When my mother remarried in 2000, she wanted all of her grandbabies to play a role in the ceremony, and that included three-year-old Shae.
Shae is my youngest, most stubborn-like-me daughter. We have bumped heads since the day she was born and by age three, she had found my last nerve and was tap dancing on it every day. Eh-ver-ree day. Whenever I’d tell her not to do something, she’d counter with “why” or “it’s not fair”. Sometimes, she would wait until I wasn’t paying attention and do it anyway. She wasn’t the greatest at making the right choices.
In a wedding, flower girls are supposed to prepare the way for the bride by gently dropping rose petals down the aisle. Shae didn’t want to do that: as soon as she was given her basket, she dumped the flowers onto the floor. She did this twice before I gave her my best mama-glare. On the wedding day, I reminded her of what would happen should she choose to do the wrong thing. She not only refrained from dumping the flowers out, she didn’t drop any. Oh well. It was time to focus on the bride and with my gaze elsewhere, Shae decided that doing the right thing was not what she really wanted to do. I could do nothing but sigh when I looked down to see her playing in the huge pile of rose petals she’d just dumped on the floor at my feet.
“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:21-24
Paul goes in hard throughout Romans 7, especially right here. He speaks on a truth most Christians hate to admit: sometimes we struggle with the decision to do good. “Do good” is not always our favorite or initial choice. I like the way Paul addresses this issue in the first-person: “I” is in almost every verse. Wait, Paul?? P-A-U-L. One of the baddest apostles that ever lived is saying, “Look, y’all. Whew! Every time I want to do good, I must intentionally make that choice because this flesh is very much alive!” And all of God’s children said, “Amen”.
Let’s be honest…
If you didn’t feel like God was eyeballing you every second, would you always choose to do the right thing? When it’s a choice between telling someone completely off or smiling sweetly and walking away; when you’re full as a tick, but that chocolate cake is calling your name; when you get the late-night “come over” text and you’re lonely…
There is a war being waged on the inside of us between good and evil, and let’s come clean: sometimes we find ourselves on the wrong side of the battlefield. Yikes. Don’t be fooled into thinking that when you said “yes” to God, evil just up and left. Um, no. “When I would do good, evil is right there with me.” The Greek word for “right there with me” means right beside me. Not chillin’ on the other side of the room, but all up in your personal space like a Siamese twin. Think about the My Buddy doll and its commercial jingle. “My buddy, my buddy. Wherever I go, he goes.”
Evil: wherever good goes, it goes.
Evil isn’t some playground bully or a trail of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe. You can’t kick it away or hand over your lunch money and expect it to leave you alone for the day. It’s not an annoyance – it is your enemy. Paul gets this point across in the way he describes what’s really going on: war. No country wages war against another just to get on its nerves. War is meant to destroy and this battle with evil is no joke. There are no peace treaties or truces to be signed, no alliances to be made. Good and evil aren’t having a summit to decide who gets to reign in your life for the month of May. This is a day-to-day fight and the enemy of your soul is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Great news for us: God is, too.
Oh, wait: He already won. 😏