February 21, 2020
Your Struggle Is Real
By Skip Heitzig
The premise of Robert Louis Stevenson's famous story The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that a London doctor named Henry Jekyll develops a potion that turns him into another man: Mr. Edward Hyde, a cold-blooded murderer. At first, Dr. Jekyll can control Mr. Hyde, but eventually, Mr. Hyde starts taking over whenever he wants to.
This sort of struggle is familiar to believers, because we have two natures battling for supremacy within us: the fallen human nature we were born with and the new nature implanted in us by Jesus Christ at the new birth.
Paul the apostle was very candid about this struggle, particularly in Romans 7. Let's look at four reasons in that chapter why this struggle is so real for believers:
1. We struggle because of what we know. "The law is holy…. But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful" (vv. 12-13). Paul was saying that the Old Testament law is good because it was given by a perfect God and it reveals His righteous standard. The problem is that through the law, we discover just how far we have to climb to reach that standard—and we can't climb very far.
2. We struggle because of who we are. "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin" (v. 14). What Paul meant is that the law deals with inward attitudes, not just outward actions and keeping a set of rules. That's how he could conclude in Romans 3:10, "There is none righteous, no, not one."
3. We struggle because of what we do. "The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice" (v. 19; see also vv. 15-24). Every one of us can relate to this struggle. With our new nature comes a longing to please the Lord, but we're chained to the dead man of our old nature. Thus, there's conflict (see Galatians 5:17).
4. We struggle because of what is possible. "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (vv. 24-25). In his desperation, Paul cried out, "I can't get rid of Mr. Hyde myself—I need a source beyond my ability." And that source is Jesus Christ. If Jesus saved you, then He will also sanctify you, mature you, and give you victory.
The struggle is real, but so is that victory, and it comes by walking in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:16). So get busy reading God's Word, praying, doing God's work, and fellowshipping with God's people so you don't have time to wallow in the problems you're facing. And let the battle that rages inside of you cause you to rejoice. The fact that you struggle proves you're a child of God and He is doing a work in you that, according to Philippians 1:6, He will one day complete.
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Best-selling author Joel Rosenberg uses fiction and his own unique perspective to shed light on biblical prophecy in The Jerusalem Assassin. Discover a dramatic adventure ripped from the reality of today's headlines and set against the backdrop of the Middle East.