v 17. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Once again it is made clear that there is a battle going on – These two forces are constantly fighting each other – and the battle is going on inside me. What is more, it is a battle from which we never fully escape. There is a part of us that remains selfish even while the Holy Spirit is at work to transform our desires. There seem to come those moments when we say to ourselves ‘I really meant to …..’ and yet we didn’t!
It is at such moments that we have to remind ourselves that ‘Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. ‘ (v 24) Or as Paul puts it in Colossians 3:5 ‘ So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.‘ Even while the Spirit is at work to transform our desires there must be an element of personal determination to have nothing to do with the sinful actions that result from wrong inner desires. We cannot simply say that we will leave the battle to God. He is certainly in the business of changing our desires and motivating us to better things, but our cooperation is needed in avoiding places and occasions where sin can raise its ugly head. You can’t put your hand in the fire and expect not to get burned!
Thank God that He is re-motivating and empowering you to a new way of life; so now determine to follow His prompting in the process.