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. (Rom. 7:18-19)
At the end of the Bible study with the guys at the jail, I asked them what they wanted to study next week. One cried out, “Carnality. I need help with my carnality.” The other guys agreed.
The following week, after reading Paul’s words in today’s scripture, I asked for their comments. One guy said, “I want to do right, but then I drink some booze, or take some crack, or go after some woman whose trouble, and then I ain’t good for nothing.”
Another guy said, “I know what I should be doing, but then I get angry and do something stupid, and that’s when I get thrown in here again.”
And then Eugene spoke. (Before I share his words, you need to know that even though he was Muslim, he was fully engaged in our bible studies and prayer times).
Eugene said: “This guy Paul’s my brother. These battles he’s talking about are my inner jihad. Some of my Muslim brothers talk about jihad on people, but that’s just wrong and twisted. Paul’s talking about all my inner battles—my lust, my anger, my temptations, my addictions, my… my everything. I can’t do these battles without God’s help and your help. Will any of you be my inner jihad brothers?”
The room got really quiet. The word “jihad” got their attention. Then one man, a pastor’s son, said, “What that man said will preach. We all have the same struggles. He needs me. I need him. I raise my hand to be his inner jihad brother. How about the rest of you?”
All raised a hand. Some raised two. Our common carnality had made us inner jihad brothers together.
I encourage us to raise our hands. Eugene spoke truth. None of us can face into all of our inner battles alone. We need God. We need each other. We need to be inner jihad brothers and sisters together.
- What are your inner battles? What do you struggle with? Do you know? Are you wise enough to admit them? Do you know that we all have them?
- Are you trying to deal with and overcome your inner battles by yourself? If so, why? If so, what would help you to understand that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength?
- Is there someone right now in your life that you need to ask to be an inner jihad brother, sister, helper, friend, or warrior? If so, when are you going to ask them?