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The Christian Spirit by John Gray

GRANDPA SAYS – “THINK ON THESE THINGS”: “Everyone is a tale of two spirits.”
 “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.” (Rom 7:15, NASB).
Every person has a ring-side seat where they see the battle of their spirits (the mind of Christ and the mind of the world) for the title of – “Governing/Dominating Spirit.” The inclination of a mind like Christ is to do “Righteousness,” i.e., to hate evil and love what is righteous. A person will find the effect of their former habits (ways of thinking) lingering in their mind and annoying their peace for years. Thus, it is with every vice and sin. It is one of the effects of bad habits - “The very passage of an impure thought through the mind leaves and artifact or pollution behind it,” and where sin has been long indulged, it leaves its withering, desolating effect on the soul long after repentance, and produces that state of conflict (that interferes with our peace of mind) with which every Christian is familiar. God can forget but we are governed by our dominating spirit.
The same conflict of conscience has been experienced and described in ancient writings, e.g., Xenophon Araspes said --- “Certainly I must have two souls; for plainly it is not one and the same which is both evil and good; and at the same time wishes to do a thing and not to do it. Plainly then, there are two souls; and when the good one prevails, then it does good; and when the evil one predominates, then it does evil.” So also Epictetus said ---” He that sins does not do what he would, but what he would not, that he does.” With these passages it would almost seem that Paul was familiar with them when he wrote Romans 7:15-25 --- “For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do. But if what I would not, that I do … So now it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me. For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not …. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see a different law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity under the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me out of the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord….”

We may fail to obey, giving way to passion by the allurements of temptation; but we know that we ought to obey righteousness. The great crises of life arise when conscience is issuing one command, while self-interest, or passion issues another. The question (which must be decided) is which of the two is to be obeyed. But how does anyone know which of the choices is the right and which is wrong? Folks, the heart (the conscience – the dominate spirit) can only give back what it has been fed! ---- “Thy word [the truth] have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against thee. (Psa 119:11).

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