Back when our children were young, I remember one night hearing a familiar sound coming from my son's room long after he should have been asleep. I went to his door and noticed an equally familiar blue glow coming from underneath the door. I opened the door to find him playing a video game long after he was supposed to be asleep. I asked him what he was doing, pointing out the fact that it was well past his bedtime. He looked appropriately guilty, and said, “I'm sorry Dad, I just couldn't resist myself.”
It's been several years now since that happened, but I think of it often, because it was probably one of the most theologically sound statements I've ever heard from a junior high kid. What my son said that night was the problem we all face - we just can't resist ourselves. It's in our very nature to do the wrong thing. It's what we call “sin”.
The problem with being human is that we inherited a sinful nature through Adam. Romans 3:10 puts it like this, “No one is righteous, not even one”. So in reality, our sins don't make us sinners, they're just the evidence of what we already are. In other words, we're not sinners because we sin, we sin because we're sinners. It is the human condition. If you struggle with that idea, just take a look at the lengths God had to go to in order to cover our sins. It required the death of His Son on the cross – that’s what God had to do to redeem us.
The good news is, He did that. God sent His Son to die as the penalty for our sins. So although we were sinners, we can now have new life. But the news gets even better because, not only can we have new life in terms of an eternity in heaven, but we can have new life here on earth. God liberated us from sin's power over us in the here and now as well. And that freedom comes from the work of the Holy Spirit showing us how to live, and giving us the ability to resist Satan's attacks. Jesus describes the work of the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, when He says, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”
The Holy Spirit shows Truth to us. And in so doing, He unites us to God through the work Jesus did – and then He lives in us with the goal of helping us be like Christ. So that's how we can “resist ourselves”, and live how God is calling us to live. The challenge of course, is to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting, and to follow His leading as He works to transform us into the people God has freed us to be. All-too-often we try to live this Christian life in our own strength rather than in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we always end up failing because we’re not God. But the Holy Spirit is – and He’s living in us right now, ready to help us resist ourselves.
So today, let's pray and ask God to help us believe in the Holy Spirit as more than just a distant theological concept. Let's ask God to help us believe in the Holy Spirit's ability to help us live completely for God. And then, let's commit to living according to that truth, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us and help us resist our own human nature.