Actor Daniel Day Lewis seldom accepts movie roles, perhaps because the British-Irish method actor exerts a consuming focus and commitment to his craft. For the Amateur thespian, a storyline character is simply a role in the script, with lines to be read. Lewis is no amateur; he is the consummate artist. He captivates audiences by quite literally inserting himself into the characters he plays. From the first shot to the final cut of his 2012 Spielberg-directed masterpiece, Lincoln, Lewis nearly was Mr.
President. His fellow actors were both astounded and a bit weirded out by the way he embodied the role. He remained in character, not only when on the movie set, but at every moment in between. At rest, meals, and in his trailer, Daniel Day Lewis was
Abraham Lincoln.

Nagging, persistent, diehard sins follow a similar pattern. Like the method actor inhabiting his craft, sin meshes with our souls. It is inside our hearts, insidiously interacting with every aspect of our character and exerting a measure of power over us. For the Christian, a battle of epic proportions must be waged against his sin. It’s a personal war; one of constant conflict and struggle. The apostle

Paul reflects upon his own wrangling with sin:

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 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. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 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. 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. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members (Rom. 7:14-21).

Paul describes a conflict between his desires and practices. Like many of us, Paul knows what is good and right—he wants to please God—but he fails to carry it out. Sin is at work against him, tripping up his pursuit of godliness. Do you notice the same struggle in your life? Be of good cheer. You are in good company with Paul and the rest of us, and there is hope. Who can deliver us from the sins that so easily entangle us? Christ alone!

The Inward Problem of Persistent Sin
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