Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 1, 2011

a walking civil war

Do you ever get frustrated over the battle that rages within you? You claim to love God and sincerely want to do His will. There is no doubt that you want to fulfill His purpose for your life. You have an internal commitment to read Scripture, pray over the needs of others and to have an impact for Christ in your world. But then…there’s the other you! You catch yourself using words that hurt others, having horrible thoughts, refusing to forgive and generally not fulfilling what you feel is God’s purpose for your life. Welcome to the Christian life. We all battle with submitting to the Spirit versus living by the desires of our flesh (old nature).

In How to Be a Christian without Being Religious, Fritz Ridenour captures the battle that you and I will face for the rest of our lives.

What’s your problem? Temper? Impatience?  Self-control? Sex? Being honest? Your thought life? Pride? Laziness? Self-centeredness? Everyone has skeletons, and they don’t always stay in the closet. You want to do right but you do wrong. You want to choose obedience but you choose sin. Sometimes you’d almost swear you were a split personality, a regular “walking civil war.”

You can probably identify with the “civil war” analogy. Others may look at your life and think you have it all together, but you know where you struggle. If you are anything like me, you are often dismayed about not living out your faith in a more effective way. But we all know that there is no need to live frustrated when we can avail ourselves of the Father’s incomparably great power. Although we will not know perfection until heaven, progress in our faith can begin today. Note our opportunity:

Galatians 5:16-18 (MSG)
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

If you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead you and give you directions for the journey. In Ephesians all Christ-followers are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. But we have a choice: to live controlled by the Spirit, or by our own selfish desires. When we seek to live in line with the Spirit’s leading words like patience, self-control, peace and joy begin to define us. If each new day’s feelings control us, then emotions like impatience, selfishness, anger and irritation will dominate us.

There will always be the “civil war” struggles for us. However, in Christ you are given the opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit (what a privilege). Would it be possible for you to begin today and tomorrow with words like, “Lord, right now I submit to the leading of your Spirit for today…. fill me and use me!”  If you value His leading for everyday, your days will be different. Oh, there will still be “civil wars”, but you will absolutely notice the progress. Take the time today to submit!


  1. What a great analogy !! Yes I do struggle with my Civil War

    Thanks for the Word of wisdom


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