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.
You have probably noticed the truth of this statement in your everyday experience of life. In the With-God Life we find ourselves on a battlefield. Our old way of life, before we came to know Jesus, still exerts some real pressure on us. In fact, if we are honest, it sometimes seems to get the better of us, even if that is only in our hidden thoughts. We aren’t always 100% successful in lining up our desires, thoughts and actions.
Now if that is you, don’t despair! It is as if our old nature is dead but won’t lie down or go away. The Holy Spirit is now at work in us to renew our inner being; it is He who gives us new intentions and the inner power to match those intentions with action. Sometimes we fail to respond to His prompting and fall into bad ways, yes – we are imperfect humans after all, but He picks us up as we repent, dusts us down, and sets us off on the right path again. We remain less than 100% perfect throughout life, but our God is 100% gracious as we fight the good fight of Faith.