Monday, September 10, 2007

Two Natures

Last weekend, I sorted through all the gnarled spots in our home, just like Clean Sweep. Except on Clean Sweep they have three tarps: keep, sell, toss.

Well, I only had two tarps. Keep. Toss. Why? Because no one would ever buy any of the broken, moldy stuff we're getting rid of, and Goodwill doesn't want it either.

One of my boxes was full of hundred-year-old textbooks (which I'm keeping).

One of the textbooks was a theology primer.

I thumbed through it, and it fell open to a discussion on the "old man" and the "new man".

It said one of the mistakes Christians make is that they expect the old man to reform. They think the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will make their flesh better. They expect their natural man to begin to make better choices and have Godly desires.

Not so. The old man will never reform. The flesh will always war against the Spirit. The natural man will always want to do evil. Always want to be selfish. Always want to make bad choices. And the natural man will always try as hard as possible to pull you away from God.

I love this! It's difficult to put my finger on exactly why.

I think it gives me clarity in a "know your enemy" kind of way.

It presents to me the challenge to make good choices and to know that with each good choice, God is pleased and the Holy Spirit in me has won a skirmmish against my flesh.

And it gives me courage to face my flesh without shame. If I make a wrong choice, like being sarcastic and critical, I don't have to endlessly berate myself for years to come or say, "I can't believe I am still making that same mistake! Haven't I outgrown that?"

Christ in me is teaching Becky, God's daughter, how best to fight the battle against that mistake, and as I mature *in Christ* I will hone my combat skills. But sarcastic criticism will always be my natural tendency. When I'm 90 I'll want to mutter at other drivers. The battle will never go away.

It's so comforting to know that just as the battle will never go away, my Champion, my Savior, the Lover of my soul, my Reigning King and Abba Father, will never go away either. He is STRONG and mighty to save!

And someday He'll put my natural self to rest once and for all!

So God has two tarps too. Keep. Toss. My flesh will get the toss, but my soul is for keeps! Hallelujah!