For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
Psalm 119:66, 68, 76-77, 93-94
Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
for I believe in your commandments.
You are good and do good;
teach me your statutes.
Let your steadfast love become my comfort
according to your promise to your servant.
Let your mercy come to me, that I may live;
for your law is my delight.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have given me life.
I am yours; save me,
for I have sought your precepts.
Luke 12: 54-59
He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”
St. Paul talks about being at war with himself over the urge to do evil. Even though he had a profound conversion experience, the lures of the world and the temptation for sin would be present for the rest of his life. When we give our lives to Jesus, He frees us from our sin and gives us grace to overcome it. But temptation and opportunity for sin will always be at hand making growing in holiness a choice.
Today, it’s important to remember two things; we are empowered by God’s grace to avoid sin, and temptation and struggles are to be expected. These two things sit juxtaposed to one another, yet are constant in the spiritual journey. In the gospel, Jesus tells us that we are as capable of discerning spiritual signs as we are able to discern signs in nature. Because of that, we are also able to recognize the circumstances that would draw us to sin. Jesus calls us to awareness and discipline to stay far from sin.
Paul references the difficulty in avoiding sin. Even after coming to Christ, we persist in the desire to sin or in the action itself. Just as we can ask forgiveness of an enemy and try to reconcile with them, we should work to free ourselves from the final judgment by turning to God and asking forgiveness from Him.
So long as we are human, we will have opportunities to sin. But we endeavor to put to death the works of the flesh and we persist in God's grace. As surely as Jesus gave Himself once on the cross, he continues to offer us freedom and grace through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Do you see the law of sin working in you? Take heart and pray the psalm: "Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. Let your steadfast love become my comfort according to your promise to your servant. Let your mercy come to me, that I may live; for your law is my delight. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life. I am yours; save me, for I have sought your precepts." Amen