Let’s start today with a crazy question. There are approximately 3.9 billion men in the world today. Surprisingly men outnumber women with 102 men for every 100 women. If we could just keep it simple. I know there are males who believe they are actually females and females who believe that they are males on the inside but just ended up with the wrong body parts. I do not want to be guilty of not respecting members of the LGBTQQIP2SAA community.
And just in case you have not kept up with the latest expansion of the LGBT community the other letters and number stand for Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, 2-spirited, Asexual, and Allies, but I digress…
My crazy question in this ever-becoming crazier world is this…
Why Do We Keep Doing What We do not Want to Do?
The biblical idea that God tells us is that the gift of sexual intimacy is to be part of a healthy marriage. It was not only necessary for procreation and populating the earth with people. All animals also procreate without it being a physical, emotional, and spiritual act. Some animals do mate for life. Approximately 3-5% of the 5,000 species of mammals form lifelong pair bonds.
Now to better understand this question I am very grateful to see that there was one man in the New Testament who admitted to everyone that he really struggled with lust. In fact, he asks himself this question and puts it in writing for us in Romans 7. And he literally tells us in verse 8 that the commandment to not covet…or lust produced in him…
“…coveting or lusting of every kind…”
He goes on and reveals to us more in verses 15…
“For I do not understand what I am doing; for I am not practicing what I want to do, but I do the very thing I hate.”
Isn’t it somewhat shocking to hear these words coming out of the mouth of Paul the Apostle?
We assume that because he was such a powerful tool in God’s hand to plant churches all over Asia Minor and wrote most of the New Testament that he would be a saint and far removed from the temptation of sexual sin.
I know…I know…he says his struggle was with coveting…but what was the commandment “Thou Shall Not Covet” mean? It gets more specific if we read what it says in Exodus 20. The 6th commandment was “You shall not commit adultery.” And the 10th commandment was…
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s wife or his male slave or his female slave, his ox, his donkey or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
And this word “covet” is to desire, crave, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust. In fact, Paul says that the commandment to not covet produced in him coveting or “…lusting of every kind;”
So, yes, we can make the interpretation that in this passage Paul is telling us that he struggled with the desires of coveting or lusting of every kind. He did not want to lust. He wanted to do good, but he practiced the very evil he hated. See Romans 7:29…
“For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
So, he explains this internal battle that he faced and that we face too. He knows he is a new creation in Christ and has been born-again. He knows that the old him has passed away and he has a new life of God’s love and forgiveness…but he also lets us know that inside of him was the battle that we find inside of us. Our spirit wants to do what is good and right but our flesh still desires sexual sin.
So, he makes a conclusion that there is evil present in him even though he is a born-again follower of Jesus. He understands that he is a new creation in Christ and yet there is still something in him that is evil. So, he cries out to God…
“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
I would also point out because this is such a shocking thing for us to hear coming from the great Apostle Paul that everything in this passage is written in the present tense and every pronoun he uses is in the first person…meaning he is talking about himself and in his present state…getting ready to write Romans 8 the great chapter of God’s love for us.
This passage has encouraged me in my recovery from my sexual addiction. I feel this battle within me between my sinful flesh and who I really am…a new creation in Christ. I rejoice that the Spirit of God lives in my body and will be in me forever, according to Jesus. Yes, this flesh or sinful nature remains, and therein lies the problem…but its days are numbered.
And as I have been working on my recovery for 16+ years I rejoice that I have been seeing the Holy Spirit changing me…transforming me into a more Christ-like man.
Never equate the reality that you are in a battle with lust with not being saved or concluding that God is finished with you. He knows this problem we all share, and He has saved us so that He can conform us to become like Jesus…the Son of God. Ultimately that work will be finished…and finished for eternity.