The War Within

Have you ever wondered why your oil and vinegar salad dressing doesn’t mix? That’s because vinegar contains water, and water is polar. Oil is non-polar, and opposite polarities do not dissolve in each other.

The oil and water mix-up is similar to the battle that rages within us. What our human nature desires to do and what we know we ought to do don’t always agree. Many times, the oily, earthy nature beats out the watery, life-giving spirit. Why is that? What makes us want to yell at someone who cuts us off in traffic or punch someone who offends us? The difference in what we choose to do usually comes from what we’ve focused on more.

“Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:7)

It all goes back to the war of sin. In Romans 7:23, Paul shares that he wants to do what is good, “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.” Sin, represented by the oil in the video, separates us from God. It is also called missing the mark, falling short of a standard, or doing evil in God’s eyes. Sin includes symptoms such as rebellion, lust, envy, greed, deceit, rage, sexual immorality, and the like. The law of sin leads to death, which is eternal separation from God.

“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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:17-18)

Did you catch that “but”? This is the answer for how we win the war of sin! Be led by the Spirit of God! God already won the war of sin for us and provided a way to have a relationship with Him. He loves us so much that he gave his only son to carry the weight of our sin, die in our place on the cross, and raise from death to life in heaven – all symbolizing our new life under the Spirit. All we have to do is believe in Jesus and choose to live on the winning side! It’s our choice – we can be prisoners to the war of sin (leaking oil), or live free through knowing Jesus (a spring of water).

Does this mean we won’t struggle? No. Jesus cautions us to put on our spiritual armor to ward off attacks of the enemy and keep the oil of sin from seeping in. Ephesians 6:14-17 mentions the Shield of Faith (trust God); Breastplate of Righteousness (live to please God); Sword of the Spirit (read the Bible), Feet Ready with the Gospel of Peace (live in peace); Helmet of Salvation (believe in Jesus), and Belt of Truth (truth holds everything together). For strength through daily battles of life, it’s important to make the decision moment-by-moment to live by the Spirit. This will help us to respond in more God-pleasing ways when someone mistreats us. When we choose to live for God, we are filled with an inner peace that the world does not know (Philippians 4:7).

“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again – ever! In fact, the water I give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.’” (John 4:13-14)

Whether you’ve known Christ for years or you’ve never asked him to be Lord of your life – we all have the struggle of sin. By choosing to serve Christ, we don’t have to wonder if we’ll win the war. Continually asking God what He is doing and choosing to proactively participate in what He is doing leads to a much fuller life. We may have battles along the way, but we have more fighting power and internal stability when we align with the winning side. We have a direct connection to the Commanding Officer and can ask Him to direct our steps in life. He even helps us in the daily moments, such as “Please Lord, help me to show love and not react to this person who just cut me off in traffic!”

“If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Meand drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” (John 7:37-38)

Thirsty? What will you drink?