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a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

Our Two Natures - Choose The Light

Our Two Natures - Choose The Light

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.” 
― Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

We are at war with ourselves. We know it subconsciously, but many of us have ever truly failed to define it. You see, we aren’t just one person but two: flesh and Spirit. If we are in Christ, the old us has been crucified with him, but the flesh still remains.

The flesh is our insatiable desire to lie, cheat, and steal to glorify ourselves. The flesh is indulgent, immature, and foolish. And it is dark.

The Spirit, however, is the literal Spirit of God living within us. If we live by the Spirit, we are in sync with God himself. Romans says we are “led by” the Spirit. Imagine that! We are led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit spreads joy and glorifies God.

We have some choice in the matter, too. Though we are not in complete control of our destinies (God is), we make choices to live by the flesh (darkness) or by the Spirit (light). So how do we choose rightly?

The Law Defines Sin

Paul explains in Romans 7 that The Law is not sin, but rather more like a light switch. He explains that The Law allows that “sin might be shown to be sin” (Romans 7:13).

You cannot know light if you don’t know dark. The contrast must exist. And in the same way, we cannot know what sin is if we don’t have God’s law. We need something to measure by.

So as we seek to live by the Spirit, we don’t do so by ignoring God’s law. We seek to live by the Spirit in light of what Christ has done to remove our guilt under the law, and, in so doing, we can return to God’s law without fear of condemnation.

Is It Us, Or Sin That Does Wrong?

“…it is no longer who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” (Romans 7:20)

So is it us, or our old selves (the flesh) that does wrong? Are we to blame or can we blame our old nature?

Yes.

We are at fault, and the indwelling sin in us is at fault. It’s the fault of the enemy and it’s our fault. It’s both.

We must be aware that we are predisposed toward sin and that we are a danger to ourselves and others if we live by the flesh. We also must remember that we have an enemy which seeks to destroy us and lead us down paths of temptation. He will play on our old selves and because he’s had lots of practice, he’ll dig up things that hurt and us them as leverage to tempt us.

But we must also remember that Jesus’ victory on the cross has slain the power of sin over us. We are no longer slaves to sin, and now we can, under grace, move toward paths of righteousness.

The Choice to Swim Upstream

Darkness thrives in the back alleys of our minds, in the sick and shadowy places. But that doesn’t mean we need to be involved in a devilish ritual to feed it. Darkness feeds most on apathy and naive oblivion. So when we go through life on autopilot, we are in deep trouble. Do nothing, and die.

The light thrives in the presence of The Lord. In his promises, in time of prayer, in showing love because he first loved us. The light is found in the gospel of Christ, the gospel of Christ is found everywhere that truth exists: thought, word, and deed.

Note a fundamental difference here. Darkness (sin, evil, etc.) is a default mode. Light is something we must move toward.

I used to surf a little bit. You’d paddle out to where the waves break and sit on your board to wait for a set of waves to approach. So you’d stare out to sea to see what waves approach so you know which one to pick out. After a while, if you do nothing but sit, if you turn to look at the shore you’ll find you’ve drifted way down the beach. You paddled out in front of the pink house, but now the pink house is 300 yards away.

You’ve got to paddle just to stay in place.

In the same way, we’ve got to paddle to stay in the light. Our flesh beckons. This way is easy. It feels good. Come on, you’re tired. But if we care about ourselves, we will vote against our default mode and let the gospel truths outrank our inner voices. We will choose to dig deep into God’s Word, to talk to him in prayer, and to do the commands of Jesus by loving him wholeheartedly and caring for others. Love is a choice, and so is light.

Which choice will you make?

Let Your Eyes Adjust: The Reality of Darkness and Light in Our World

Let Your Eyes Adjust: The Reality of Darkness and Light in Our World

Repenting of Righteousness (Converting the Converted)

Repenting of Righteousness (Converting the Converted)