I have been water baptized many times but keep going back to my old ways. What’s wrong with me?

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I have been water baptized many times but keep going back to my old ways. What’s wrong with me?

Speaker 1

So help me, is asking how can I change and be sure I am saved for years? How can I change and be sure I am saved for years? I have been asking the Lord into my heart and also been water bow that size many times, but keep going back to my old weight. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be filled with the Holy Spirit?

Speaker 2

That is a really good question. Help me. And I really appreciate that because I think this is just such an honest question and I think anybody who’s a Christian has completely identified with this, definitely this resonates with me as well, I think with anybody who’s just trying to overcome sin in their lives. And I just want you to know that these feelings are biblical too. The apostle Paul struggled with this very thing. And I almost wonder if you’re quoting what he said in the book of Romans chapter seven and eight. And so I just want you to see this really quick. I’ll try to read through this pretty quick and summarize it. I apologize quick and summarize it just so that you know that you’re not alone and that you’re not totally lost. Because even the apostle Paul, the greatest evangelist missionary that the world has ever seen, felt the same way. And so I just want to show you Romans chapter seven and verse 15 starts where he says for that which I do not actually, let me go ahead and put this in the new King James version cause it’s a little bit easier to read.

Speaker 2

So I’m just having to change my version really quick, but I think it’ll be a little bit more clear. So basically again, for what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do what I want to do. I agree that I do not practice, but what I hate, that’s what I do. If then I do what not to do. I agreed with the law that it is good, but now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me that is in my flesh nothing good dwells. For to will is present with me. But how to perform what is good I do not find for the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil that I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but send it to us in me. So basically the puzzle Paul is here is talking about the struggle. He’s like in my mind I want to do what is holy, righteous good, but yet I’m finding myself going back to these terrible things, this practice, whatever it is that’s not right.

Speaker 2

And he doesn’t agree with doing it, but he finds himself doing this things again and again. He said something really key here in the next few verses. And starting in verse 21, he says, I find that a law that evil is present with me and the one who will to do good. So basically Paul is saying, when I look at the law, I see the things that are wrong. That’s the purpose of God’s law is for us to see what’s wrong in us. The law never saves us. It just shows us our condition. Just kind of like a mirror. The Bible talks about the law being a mirror. It shows us who we really are. And when we look at God’s law, we go, oh, I’m not so great. I once had a friend say who wasn’t a Christian, saying I keep God’s law, I’m a pretty good person. I’m like, do you lie sometimes? Do you feel like you keep a lot of commandments when they really start looking at them? Because that’s the purpose of the law is to show us, hey, we have a need of a savior, we’re sinners. And I think we can all identify with this.

Speaker 2

And as you keep reading, it says, but I see another law and my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my member. So basically his body is like feeling in bondage to sin, but in his mind he knows that there’s a better law, the law of God, and he wants to keep God’s law. And in verse 24 he says, oh, wretched man than I am who will deliver me from this body of death? And he finally says, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with my mind, I myself served the law of God, but with the flesh, the lobby sin. Now, he doesn’t stop there because if you know anything about the Bible, it wasn’t originally written in chapter it was just written. The books are just written as they were in Romans chapter eight, in verse one through, I believe, verses.

Sorry.

Speaker 2

Verse ten. I don’t read all of it, but I do want to just find out something really cool that Paul says here. He says, first of all, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, which is basically what you’re talking about. If we can walk in the Spirit, we’re going to be fine. We need to have the Holy Spirit and walk in it because like it says in verse two, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death for what the law could not do and that it was weak through the flesh, God did. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin, he condensed sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. So I hear what you’re saying. We don’t want to walk according to the flesh, which does things that are contrary to God’s will. We want to walk according to the Spirit, which allows us to be like Christ.

Speaker 2

And we know that Christ never did any sin. Christ was obedient and he was perfect inside and out. Jesus was perfectly obedient and holy. I think I’ll stop there as far as that portion. But if you want to read Romans, chapter eight, verses one to ten, I think that’s just a really beautiful summary of basically how we want to live in the Spirit and have the Spirit of Christ and not have basically live according to the flesh. Now, as far as how, that’s a good question because I’ve definitely struggled with this myself as well. And I want to just point you to a few things that Jesus embodied, because the thing is, if we are doing things that are according to the flesh, how do we know we’re doing something that’s according to the flesh, something that’s wrong? We know because it’s contrary to God’s word or God’s law. And Jesus says in Matthew 517 and 18 that he didn’t come to destroy the law, but that he came to fulfill it. And so we need to know God’s law, not that law in any way is going to save us, absolutely not, but rather that it’s just going to point us to the Savior, just as Jesus said.

Speaker 2

I don’t think I came to destroy the law. I did not come to destroy, but to fulfill. So basically we do need God’s law as a tool to help us to get back to Jesus. And the reason I say this is because it’s a promise God’s given to us. And it’s something that Jesus, I think, was the secret to his life of holiness and of righteousness. And you see this in the Book of Psalms. As far as God’s law being something to help us, I think that so many people look at God’s laws like, oh, this is the law that condemns us and this is our enemy, and we don’t want God’s law. But no, God’s law is perfect and it’s something really beautiful and it’s a helpful tool. God wouldn’t have given us the Ten Commandments or his law if it wasn’t for our good. And that’s why you see in Psalms 19, verse seven, it says the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. And so we see God’s law as a necessary tool to convert us, to change us in the right direction. Again, it doesn’t save us. Only Jesus can save us, but it’s just a tool to help us.

Speaker 2

And then you see this in the life of Christ. When you look in the Book of Psalms, chapter 40, it’s actually a messianic prophecy. Basically, it’s a prophecy foretelling of Jesus. There’s so many psalms, like Psalms 22, that basically a prophecy is about Jesus, the coming Messiah. And in Psalms chapter 40, in verse eight, it actually says something really cool about the heart of Jesus and what he was about. In Psalm four eight, it says, speaking of Jesus, like what he would be like. And Jesus says, I delight to do your will, O God, your law is within my heart. And so the attitude that Jesus had was that he delighted to do the will of God. It was kind of opposite to the experience. You’re reading about Paul who’s saying, I want to do good, but I keep going back to doing bad things of the flesh and he was struggling back and forth. But here we see Jesus saying, I delight to do your will because your law is where it’s in my heart. And what’s very interesting is that this is actually the new covenant. This is the new covenant that Jesus promised to his people.

Speaker 2

And if you look in Hebrews chapter ten, verse 16, I think this is the most clear. The Bible actually mentions it several times, but I think that Hebrews chapter ten, I personally just think is a really nice place to see it in Hebrews ten, verse 16, where it says, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put my law into their hearts and in their minds I will write them. So basically we need to be asking God to do the work in us is the problem. Because I feel like so many times as a Christian I’ve tried to keep God’s law or do what’s right in my own strength, with my own whatever. And I ask God, God, just float with your spirit and it should just work like magic. But the thing is, it doesn’t. We need to be allowing God to write his law in our hearts. And the only way we can do that is by spending time with Him, spending time in his word. Like it says in Psalms 119, verse eleven, it says, I have hid thy word in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.

Speaker 2

So we need to be spending time with God in his word, in his truth, and contemplating Scripture and especially contemplating his law, thinking about these things. Because when our mind is set on these things, it’s going to change us and we’re going to be able to have more victory because we’ve set ourselves up for success. We haven’t just gone to battle without doing any preparation. I really think about the Christian walk. It is a battle and I want to show that to you as well, as we see in Scripture in two Corinthians, chapter ten. But basically we’re not just battling against whatever. There’s a devil out there and he wants to tempt us. He doesn’t want us to succeed. He wants us to fall, but through Jesus Christ we can be successful, we can have victory. And the thing is, I think so often we don’t give that preparation the proper attention it deserves. And I think that’s why we end up forgetting the promises we’ve made to God or forgetting or just giving into negative feelings that cause us to do or say or think things that are not right. And we really have to be fortifying our mind by filling our heart in our mind with the right kinds of things.

Speaker 2

And so you see, this, I think, the most clear in two Corinthians, chapter ten, verses three and five, and I’ll close with this, and I pray that this will be a helpful tool for you as you choose to follow Jesus and find victory in Him. We have the victory in Jesus Christ. And so again, two Corinthians, chapter ten, verses three to five, and the apostle Paul says here, for though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. So we’re kind of talking about that earlier in the book of Romans that it’s this battle between the flesh and the Spirit. But it says, even though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. Because even though we’re physical bodies and what have you, our war isn’t a physical fight, it’s a spiritual fight. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty and God, for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. And this right here is key bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. And so again, it goes back to what are we putting in our hearts?

Speaker 2

What are we putting in our minds? Because in the Bible, the word mind and heart are basically interchangeable. So basically, what are we putting in our heart? What are we putting in our mind to prepare ourselves against the battle that we face every day, against sin and against selfishness? And basically, we have to be putting on spiritual armor. The Bible talks about putting on the armor of God, and the only weapon we have as an offense is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. So again, we have to be taking God’s word and especially his law, hiding it in our hearts, hiding it in our minds, and that way we’re abiding in the mindset of Jesus. And John, chapter five, says that basically we must abide in Christ. Jesus tells us apart from Him, we can do nothing except as we abide in Him, and we stay connected to Him. And we do that again by keeping his word, his law, fresh in our minds, so that when those sudden things come up in day to day life, we’re prepared to meet them, because our minds are fortified in the arm of God and in His Word.

Speaker 2

Wendy, do you have any other thoughts on that.

Speaker 1

I wanted to look at this also from a body physiology psychobiology. I don’t know exactly the name for it, but when you look at psychology, you look at biology, you look at the interplay between the two and how the nervous system develops from the time we’re young and our nervous system is constantly developing and we’re being conditioned to respond to things in certain ways. And so the longer we go in those pathways, the more rigid that becomes, the more set that becomes in our brains and in our amygdala, which is kind of this part of our brain that controls our body’s responses. And when we come to understand these different truths from the Bible as an adult and we’re looking at these and we’re like, I learned to operate a certain way, but I don’t want to operate that way, I think this is where a lot of the struggle comes in. And the good news is that we can actually rewire our nervous system. It just takes time and effort and patience and persistence and training and Holy Spirit. Yeah, I mean, you have to understand God’s principles and then do the work internally to apply that and to retrain our bodies to do it.

Speaker 1

And I really do think that Romans eight actually goes into more of the how do we do this? And Tina covered so much, so beautifully from a lot of other verses as well. So I’m not going to repeat all that.

Speaker 3

I had to restrain myself from saying amen many times.

Speaker 1

There is so much good stuff together there. When we combine that understanding with a deeper understanding of how our brains and our bodies develop and work and how to do that process of rewiring. When we’re faced with these situations that we want to respond the old way. The not good way. The way that we know is not good in these situations. It’s important to just pause for a moment and to reflect on what is governing us. What are we allowing to govern us? Are we allowing our ingrained nervous system that was trained one way to continue to control us, the body, the flesh, to continue to control us? Or are we going to look at the word of God and contemplate that in those situations and say, wait a minute, I’m choosing to follow the word of God here. I’m choosing to follow the Spirit of God even though it doesn’t feel right to me, even though I feel violated by not responding the way I want to respond. Think about Christ at the cross in this moment. Did he retaliate against the people who were taking him there? He did not. He submitted himself to the will of God and to the Spirit of God in that moment, in the most torturous situation that any person that’s ever walked this earth has ever been through.

Speaker 1

He submitted Himself to all of that so that we would be able to understand that this is possible and to submit ourselves to the will of God in whatever circumstances come up. And when we do that and we start to reprocess these things and start to look at it now from a new way of what is God’s higher purpose in this? What is God’s spirit about this situation? What does God want me to learn from this? We actually allow that reprogramming of our nervous system to happen and so we can begin to develop a whole new way of operating. Now, applying all of these principles that Paul has talked about that’s covered with all these different verses from many different people in Scripture. And so I think that is the piece that it’s bringing that together and taking that time to focus and do that work that we have to do ourselves.

Speaker 2

Amen. And I really appreciate you sharing that because I think you put into words something I wasn’t sure how to put into words, just that submission. Like you’re saying, the only picture of it I can think of is when Jesus, like you’re saying before Calvary, he just spent the whole night in prayer submitting to the will of God, saying, not my will, but your will be done. And I don’t think he got up off his knees until he’s fully surrendered. And I feel like that’s kind of part of that piece of it’s not just reading God’s word and memorizing Scripture. Because that’s not going to save you if you’re not in the right spirit. But rather when you take everything to God and give it to Him and take that time to submit it to God. Surrender fully. Let it go and let God be the boss of your life or the king of your life. And definitely that’s where we can find a new sense of peace and.

Speaker 1

Allowing.

Speaker 2

Your brain to change in that direction. Because I know I’ve seen that in my own life for sure, because anybody who’s known me 20 years ago would not recognize me today.

Speaker 1

I wanted to add to that too. One of the important elements of that, if you think about like, let’s say that your inclination is to fight back in a certain situation. Now imagine for a moment that what you’re about to fight against is literally the most powerful force in the universe. And no matter how much you try to fight, you will lose because it’s stronger than you. This is, to me, a really useful principle in applying that submission.

Speaker 3

I’m just a little concerned where this is going. You’re right. But the thing is, if you approach this from a fear based and I know you’re not advocating for that, but I think someone hearing this might think you’re saying that do this out of fear because God is stronger, and then you got to overpower you and you’re always going to fail if you don’t have the right mindset on this, which is understanding that God is love. And God outright tells us in One John 418, there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. So really what overpowers us, if we let it, is going to be love. And we need that love to overpower us, to then cause us to do what we need to do, which is to love that. As the very next verse says one John 419, we love him because he first loved us. And so we got to really get to know God, get to understand his love, let God love us, and then we can love God back, which is then love is the fulfillment of the law. And it’s only by this way that we really can do it.

Speaker 3

And it gets down to why would you want to submit to God? Why would you want to obey God? Why would you want to hang out with God? Why would you want to live forever? The only reason I would think you ever would want to is because God is love and he really does love you. And he really wants to just pour out an infinite blessings upon you and let you live for eternity amongst many other people who also are going to follow the law of love. And so we could all love each other, love God, and it’s going to be amazing. And this is the reason why we would want to do any of this.

Speaker 1

I completely agree. I don’t think it’s contradictory to what I’m saying, but I hear you. But yes, I wanted to give that caveat. I completely agree with that. And to me, love is the most powerful force in the universe. But oftentimes when someone is fighting this, yes, they’re missing that piece, they’re missing the power of God’s love. And sometimes you have to just but if you’re in that kind of like not a good way of responding mode, you have to submit to receive that.

Speaker 3

Yeah, and I just want to be clear what people were submitting to receive. If you do that out of fear or obligation, you’re going to fail. You’re going to fall back to the old you that’s the sinner. And that’s what kept happening to Israel is you kept falling and they said, yes, whatever you say, we will do. And of course then they never did it. And as far as the New Covenant is just submitting to God and letting God write the law on our heart, letting God take care of it, letting God to will and to do his own pleasure within us, that is the New Testament. That’s why it’s so much better. That’s why the New Covenant is better than the old one.

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