The Delight of the New Man
Conflicting desires reside within born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, desires wrought in us by the Holy Spirit who dwells in our enlivened spirits, and by the law of sin in our earthly faculties and members.
"For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: (Galatians 5:17).
"I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law working in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members... So then with the mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin" (Romans 7:22-23; 25).
A good friend often says, "Boil believers down to their essence, and you will find the Holy Spirit dwelling in a human spirit, both with the same desires and inclinations." This is true because the Holy Spirit lives in us, and He "worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (I Corinthians 3:16; Philippians 2:13). Before we proceed, let us take a moment to make these Biblical truths personal. Do we believe this to be true of ourselves? And particularly, about challenging issues of God's will where we may have often distrusted and disobeyed, or where we may even feel hesitancy or little desire in the present moment? Is there nevertheless delight for God's will in us despite little or no sensibility of it?
The Biblical answer is a resounding "Yes!" Unlike the law of sin in our members which we easily feel and, as Paul said, "I see," the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus often seems either absent or without effect. Indeed, delight for the will of God may not be found in the wind of our sensibilities, nor in the earthquake of our emotions, nor in the fire of our keenly felt yearnings, but in the still, small voice of our innermost spiritual being (I Kings 19:11-12). In such times, we must believe the Word of God against all seeming evidence to the contrary that our true desire, to the degree of literal delight, is to do the will of God. "We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).
Again, ponder that nagging issue of temptation and too frequent sin that has often seemed impossible to overcome. Regardless of our experience, the truth of the matter has always been (since our new birth) that in our innermost spiritual selfhood in Christ, we desire to trust and obey rather than distrust and disobey. Have we known this, however? Have we known it well? And have we believed the Word of God accordingly? Whatever our answer, the present moment beckons to us, to the "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness," to arise and believe that the person we most deeply are does in fact "delight in the law of God" (Ephesians 4:24). No merit is implied on our part regarding such blessedness, but rather all glory flows to the Lord Jesus who dyamically indwells us by His Spirit, and "who was made to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).
We must choose to make a choice, the choice to believe in the Lord Jesus who no less dwells in our spirits than He hung upon our cross for our sins, rose from the dead for justification, and sits on the throne of Heaven as Lord. Our blessed Savior graces our innermost being with His "I delight to do Thy will, o God" (Psalm 40:7; Hebrews 10:7). Let us believe the Word of God, and thus "through the Spirit mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body" (Romans 10:13). We will walk in the bright light of Truth as we do, the truth of "so great salvation" that leads, motivates and enables us to "awake to righteousness and sin not" (Hebrews 2:3; I Corinthians 15:34).
"I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication (participation) of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus."