“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
Three of the most powerful words that will help anyone to overcome sin are, “I am carnal.” The sooner you face the reality that you are not as good as you would like to think that you are, the sooner you will be able to begin to overcome the sin in your life that besets you. Nobody has overcome sin without the realization of their depravity. Once you realize that, at best, you are carnal, you will at that point begin to realize that there are several areas in your life that you must change or place guards in so that you don’t fall to the temptations of your flesh. In this chapter, there are several things that God points out that you must keep in mind to help you overcome your flesh.
First, you must realize that you are putting on a performance. The apostle Paul states in verse 18, “…but how to perform that which is good I find not.” You are living your life like a performance on a stage in front of God and man. Every action you take is a performance before God. The sooner you realize that every action makes a performance in front of others, the sooner you will consider your actions before you do them.
Second, you must have desire to overcome your carnal flesh. Verse 19 shows the importance of changing your desires when it says, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” Your actions will not change until you change your desires. Desires are the result of what you feed your flesh. So, if you want to have the right desires, you must feed on the right things.
Third, you must have the right associations to overcome your flesh. Verse 20 says, “…but sin that dwelleth in me.” No matter how good you are, sin “dwelleth” in you. You cannot spend time with the wrong people and overcome sin. Furthermore, you cannot spend time with the wrong people and have the right desires. You can change your desires if you change your associations. Your desires and actions are a direct result of your associations; if you don’t like your desires or actions then change your associations.
Fourth, you must feed on God’s Word if you are going to change your appetite for sin. Verse 22 says, “For I delight in the law of God…” Feeding on God’s Word changes who you are, which results in changing the associations with whom you enjoy being around.
Fifth, you must guard your mind if you are going to change your carnal thoughts. Verse 23 says, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind…” You can read God’s Word daily and memorize it, but you won’t overcome your carnal actions if you continue to let the wrong things feed your mind. Your mind is where your thoughts originate, and thoughts eventually turn into actions. If you guard your mind against sinful thoughts, you can guard your life from sinful actions. The best way to guard your mind is to guard what you allow your eyes to see.
Sixth, realize that you can only overcome the flesh through the strength of the LORD. Verse 25 emphasizes that Christ is where you find your strength to overcome carnality. Nobody has overcome sin in their own strength, but they have only overcome sin through Christ’s strength. If you live your life for Christ, guarding the influences of your mind and friends, you will find that you can live the victorious Christian life.