After each meal in my house, I have to play drill sergeant to get the kitchen cleaned up. Sometimes, the
soldiers children aren’t all that cooperative. Feet are dragging, there are moans like someone shot them in the stomach, they’re just not moving. And my patience is wearing thin. I’ll try to keep my cool for as long as possible, and then suddenly, RAWR! I’m yelling at the top of my lungs that if they do not start sweeping the floor I will tie them in a burlap sack and throw them into the ocean to get eaten by Ariel’s cousins. Then, I stop. Midsentence almost. Gasping for air, I wonder; Where did that come from? I feel physically and emotionally incapable of that terrible of a reaction to frustration and anger.
If you watch the news long enough, the picture of a murderer might show up on the screen. Perhaps they violently killed three people. When the family and friends are interviewed, at times they will say that they don’t know how this person could’ve done it. They always seemed so nice, and they wouldn’t hurt a fly. They’re wondering, Where did that come from?
It’s hard to imagine how truly horrible the sinful nature is. It takes over anyone, at any time, in any place. It does not discriminate between any sort of group. I think a common misconception is that when you become a Christian, you don’t feel the urge to sin anymore, like when you’re on a sugar free diet for a long time and don’t want to eat that triple fudge brownie because you’ve found something better. No, it’s not like that at all. Perhaps your soul has been given to God, but your flesh is and still will be with you until the day you die. It will continue to attack you, to tempt you, no matter what your standing. It won’t give up and the darned thing won’t die like some satanic immortal demon (that’s exactly what it is, as I think about it).
For example, we’ve got Paul. If you’ve ever taken a single glance at the New Testament, you’ll have heard at least a part of his story. He used to be called Saul and was a persecutor of people of the faith before he did a complete U-turn in the opposite direction and became one of the most amazing Christians of all time if I do say so myself. You’d think that a guy like him wouldn’t be tempted, or at least not as much as the common man, right? That’d be great, but nope. In Romans 7:18-20, he says “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” This is a man struggling with sin just as much as you or me.
This sinful nature won’t stop. And you’re going to get exhausted and depressed and want to put the sword down and take a break for one moment. How easy would it be to give in? To lie down and let the flesh take over, to pull you into the darkness. Simple. You wouldn’t have to work at all.
No one said this whole Christian thing was going to be fun and cheerful with rainbows and unicorns. Lovely thought, but that doesn’t come until later. But you will have peace and love. Jesus will always be there to hand you your spiritual Gatorade and to strengthen you for the next attack. In him, you may rest.
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31