Question: There were five frogs on a log. Three decided to jump off. How many were left?
Answer: Five. They decided, but never really jumped.
We’ve been digging deep into our identity in Christ, focusing on the blazing truth about our single Christ-like nature that we have since our old, sinful self was crucified with Christ. You probably even decided that you want to live according to this new nature. But how do you jump off into this new life? And how do you swim once you do?
The question is really this: now that we have been made holy in Christ, how do we walk in that holiness?
The apostle Paul openly wrestled with this issue, and he was really honest about the struggle. Throughout the book of Romans he talks about the tension with the law and sin.
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual…So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (Romans 7:14, 21-23)
In verse 14, Paul freely admits that outside of Christ he is “unspiritual” (the word is actually sarxocos, meaning “fleshly”). Without Christ, he’s just another guy who’s trying to live in his own strength. So the rest of the text describes what it looks like for a Christian who’s attempting to live in his own strength:
- “I am… sold as a slave to sin.”
- “I do not understand what I do.”
- “I know that nothing good lives in me—that is in my flesh.”
- “For what I do is not the good I want to do. The evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing.”
Does this sound familiar? How do we jump off that log of confusion and despair and swim in holiness? At the end of this passage, Paul provides the solution,
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)
Jesus is the one who rescues us from this. As you function in Christ by His Spirit (as opposed to functioning in your own strength), Jesus overcomes the sliver of indwelling sin, the temptation to live in the flesh, and the oppressive burden of living by the law.
Are you ready to dig into the specifics of how this is done? But first, you do need to make that first decision to jump.
Oh Jesus, I’m choosing today to leave the way I used to live. I place my faith in You, and not in the strength of my flesh! I choose Your wisdom and not my own knowledge. As a leap into this new existence, I trust You and You alone to live the Christian life through me. Show me the way! Amen.