Saturday, July 7, 2012

Catharsis... very personal

Since I was very young, at least since early elementary school, I have been aware of something. There has always been a sense inside of me of a very dark, evil, part of me. When I would allow it to, this part of me would fantasize about things such as hurting people, animals, or anything really. I have long been afraid that at some point in my life, I would lose control of this part of my nature, and would become a very bad person. This deeply ingrained sin nature is not unique to me, it resides within every person. We are filled with a propensity for bad things. None of us are exempt or unable to perform acts of varying degrees of shame and wrong. It is this same sin nature that condemns each of us to an eternity of conscious torment in a place called Hell. Without proper acknowledgement of this part of our being, we are helpless. We can, by our own efforts and will, battle against this nature. We can even succeed to a point, we can be a "good person" on our own... but at our core, we will still be susceptible to a nature that is opposed to God. Only through the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice, and the willingness to allow His nature, through the Holy Spirit, to come into our lives, can we hope to truly have victory over our own nature. This is not to say that a simple, one time, decision to follow Jesus will cure us of our nature. Christians sin, and will continue to sin, because the natures of sin and of God will rage war within us. Sometimes we follow the God nature, sometimes we don't. I have heard many people say that the worst sins they have committed in their lives occurred after they accepted God's grace. I count myself in that number. The biggest difference between a Christian and one who is not, is the level of awareness of the depth of our own sin and need for help. I recently ran headlong into this deepest fear, that I would allow my sin nature to control me in some way. Satan, in his smooth and quiet way, began to tempt me. My thoughts began to feed that part of me. Once well nourished, the thoughts started to become desire to do some pretty evil things, the details of which are of no importance. I, at some point, seemed to choose to lock God out of this issue, I decided to let my sin nature run, it felt good (the way sin does). I was blind to it, was convinced that there was no harm in it. Satan, as is his practice, used God's word... twisting it to make me feel I was doing something good and right. I gradually relinquished more control, continued to feed my wrong desires. I thank God, and never enough, that He gave my wife the courage to step in... She opened my eyes one day, and God worked through her to place a small crack in Satan's work. Even still, I failed to rely on God to help me out of the situation. I fell into another of the devil's common traps. I started to believe I needed to clean myself off and make myself right before God would accept me back. The raging battle of my two natures was incredible. There were days I truly felt ripped in two, my life was echoing the words of Paul... I continued, with much pain and defeat, to do that which I knew I must not do. I felt times of immense pain, and yet pleasure... I fell for Satan's lies that I could control my sin nature. He was stronger than me, and I began to give up the fight. I inched ever closer to allowing that part of me to destroy my life. And again, God stepped in, through my wife. This time was much less gentle, but no less loving. The battle rages on, but, thanks to a God who never fails me, and a wife with the unimaginable loyalty and courage to step in, I know that it is not a battle for me to fight. God is fighting the battle for me, and He wins. I am thankful that all of this happened before I allowed the darkness within me to take over completely. I am thankful that it never went that far. It destroys me to know that it got as close as it did... and that it took that much pain to remind me of my need for God. I sit here today, working down a road of repentance and reconciliation. I walk hand in hand with a wife I don't deserve... being led by a God that never fails. I woke up this morning humble, and more in love with both. Thank you God for reminding me that without you, I'm a pretty terrible person... but with you, I can do anything. I don't deserve your love, I don't deserve Christ's atonement for all I have done and will do, I don't deserve your gift of grace, but you give them anyway.

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