Good, Pleasing and Perfect

Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
 
In our Christian walk we all want and need to know God’s will.  We struggle each day trying to go His way, often knowing at the end of the day that we failed.  Somehow we missed His directives, didn’t hear or heed His voice, and once again our flesh was the winner.
 
Knowing and pursuing His will is never easy but wouldn’t we can be more apt to hit the mark if we obeyed the command in that verse and “renewed” our minds?
 
Every moment that we spend in reading the Bible, in prayer and in serious study and meditation on God’s Word, we are renewing our minds and strengthening our spirit.
 
The Apostle Paul knew first hand of the struggle to please the LORD and being unable to do that all of the time.  He said in Romans 7:19, “For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.”
 
If we could just obey the Spirit and not the flesh life would be so much easier.  But therein lies the catch. What the flesh wants to do is opposed to what His Spirit that is within us wants us to do.  Even Paul, who knew and understood these things better than anyone, struggled.  He said in Galatians 5:17, ” For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.”
 
One would think that it would be so easy!  With the Spirit of God, the “Spirit of holiness” (Romans 1:4) dwelling within us, there should be no problem.  But we are by nature, flesh and human.  As we stand on this earth and until we are released from these bodies of flesh, there will be a conflict.
 
Even as a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and godly thoughts and desires rise within us, we find ourselves crippled by the longings of our flesh. 
 
The Apostle Paul discovered the truth of the battle.  He learned that his own resources were not enough to be the victor in that battle.  He had the godly desires.
In Romans 7 he said, “For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law.”  But in spite of what his “inner self” agreed with, it was his outer self that seemed to always win out.  He explained it further by saying “But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.”  The Apostle Paul, who had once looked into the face of his Savior on that lonely road to Damascus, now faced his own carnality.  He discovered that the pull of sin was greater than his own strength and he knew he must call for help. Facing this overwhelming battle, he cried, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.”
 
If we begin each day, setting our mind on Christ, there will still be a battle, but as Paul confessed, we will be slaves to the laws of God and we will find that walking in and by His Spirit gives us the resources of a victorious Christ and His Spirit, and that life in Christ will set us free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2

Dear Jesus,
No matter how hard I try, I fail to do all that my heart desires me to do for You.  My best and holiest intentions fail and I end up, at the end of the day, defeated by my own flesh.  As Paul cried out to you, I do as well.  Strengthen me by Your Holy Spirit against the desire of my flesh to conform to this world.  Give me Your mercy for my failures and Your grace to humble me so that I will know to call on You.  Transform my own mind by Your Word so that I will have the weapons to win the battle for as long as You allow me to continue.  LORD of all, You know when I sit down and when I stand up so please guide me into Your good and perfect will.  Amen

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