Have you ever become exasperated with your flesh? To be exasperated means to be intensely irritated or infuriated. To be so pissed off that you are wanting to pull your hair out or punch a hole in the wall. If you are in your car you pound the steering wheel or alone in your house you let out a good and long scream.
Sexual sin can do that to us. Our intentions are good. We really do want to stop. We know the damage this is doing to us. It might cost us our marriage, our family, our job, our reputation.
As a sexual addiction coach, we do an exercise to determine how much our addiction has cost us. We figure out how many hours we have spent looking at porn during our whole life, multiply it by the average minimum wage. Then how much one might have spent on prostitutes, strip clubs, phone sex, counseling, attorney fees, child and spousal support. Then add it all up to get an approximate total. One guy, I am working with had a total of over $1,600,000.00. That got his attention.
Paul is expressing his exasperation in Romans 7:15;
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”
Now think about that for a second. Paul, the Apostle, author of most of the New Testament, chosen vessel of God to spread the gospel to much or the world had a time in his life where he was doing the very thing that he hated. He continues;
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.”
Some will argue that Paul is talking about before he became a Christian. However, there is absolutely nothing in the passage that suggests it. He is actually speaking in the present tense and is describing the battle that happens in every believer’s life in one form or another. At last, in utter exasperation he cries out;
“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
There is one other very important thing we need to see in this passage. Paul says it twice because it is such a foreign thought to us;
“So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” v.17
“But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” v.20
Paul has learned in this battle that he faced something critical that we must learn as well. He does not identify himself with his sin. He understands that there is something within him, inside of his body and he calls it his “flesh” or “sinful nature”. And that is where the problem lies. It is not him, a new creation in Christ who has been given a new heart and has the mind of Christ. It is this old part of him that has driven him with sinful desires his entire life.
If you are identifying yourself by your sin nature or your flesh then you are saying that you are what you do. But what we do should never identify us as who we are. Who we are should determine what we do. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. We are born again and forever members of the family of God. We have been chosen, adopted, redeemed, justified and we are owned by God who purchased us with the death of His Son.
When we were dead in sin we had no choice and the flesh ruled us. However, now, we are alive in Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly regions. We are justified of all our sins, indwelled by the Spirit, being sanctified by His transformation power and destined to be glorified in heaven forever.
So, quit identifying yourself by your sin and identify yourself as a saved child of the King by His grace alone and dwell in His eternal love today. This sinful lust that seems to have you captivated and you think is forcing you to keep using sex can only … and let me be clear … can only be defeated by the Spirit of God when you are being honest within a community where you are honest and letting them help you.