The Conflict Within

Galatians 5:16-18

Playing basketball on Saturday in South Korea with the young people that came to a Momentum Outreach sponsored by the Word of Life Jeju Bible Institute students, I could feel the competitive juices beginning to flow. At my age I can hardly shuffle up and down the court, but I did make it down and was in the low post position.

A broad shouldered, strong Korean young man went up for a lay-up, and I was right behind him.  Good thing I only needed to jump a few inches off the ground, but I stuffed him. Now it was a clean block, and he didn’t react, but I knew I needed to watch my attitude. If he starts to heat up his game and I respond with anger, it’s not going to be good. The Bible teacher who is teaching that the fruit of the Spirit are patience and gentleness, can’t lose his temper on the basketball court.

Even after years of knowing Jesus and at a time in life when my mind knows what to do, but my body says “No,” I  still wrestle with that internal battle of pride and the threat of anger. That voice inside that says I must win even when it’s only a casual fun game. What encourages me is that the Apostle Paul doesn’t piously say we won’t struggle with temptations. He recognizes that this internal wrestling match between our old sinful nature and our new Christ-like nature is real and he also reveals how to let the good side win.

“Now I’m telling you, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the passions of your human sin nature.  For that sin nature expresses intense desires that oppose the Spirit. And the Spirit counters against these sinful passions. For these two are at total odds with one another, and in this wrestling match it seems as if the very thing we don’t want to do, we do. But get this, if you are being led by the Spirit, you will not be under the Law.” Galatians 5:16-18

The Law says, “Dave, don’t get angry. Don’t let your pride cause you to cross over into an intensity that’s totally inappropriate in this casual basketball game. Don’t lose your temper.” These commands are true and right, but they don’t give me the power to stay under control in the game. But Jesus’ divine Spirit living within has all the power I need. I can humbly cry out to him for help, and the new nature that has nothing to prove because it’s resting in God’s gracious acceptance and love can help me to play under control and enjoy the game.

That night at the climax of the youth outreach, my friend, Steve Nicholes, used the Avenger Endgame Movie to point the young Korean teens to the ultimate super hero who came not to avenge but to forgive and redeem. Fifteen trusted in Jesus.

LORD, help me to teach the Bible Institute students the Book of Galatians totally under the control of your Holy Spirit. Help them to see evidence not of my sin nature, but the fruit of the Spirit that you are telling us about in Galatians and seeking to produce in our lives.

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!