The old man inside of me is trying to kill me. He is beginning to see that the path that the Lord God has placed me on is going in a way that he does not want it to go, and he is doing all that he can to stop me, almost every day.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6:6) I have found in this life that there seems to be three different categories of Christians when it comes to these types of statements, the one understands that it is indeed our old sinful nature that dwells within us that is our main hindrance to the continuance of the path that we are to be on, the second believes that all of these losses of progression are due to the influences of our adversary, and the third, which I happen to be in agreement with, are those that believe it is both, but with stipulations.
We sin when we freely choose to do that which is against the will of the Lord, we sin when we fall into the temptations and wiles of Satan, but either way, every time that we sin it is always by our own free will. Nobody forced you to succumb to that temptation, you did that all on your own, you were provided a way out and you decided against that way. The natural state of man is the same one that our first parents were in when the Lord God created them, one of assurance and rest in their creator, a continuing, unbroken fellowship of love and trust, our sinful nature is not the standard or type. Suffice it to say, we can conjecture all day long if it was necessary for Satan to provoke Adam and Eve or if they would have eventually chosen for themselves to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we can base our assumptions only upon the truths found in the Word of God, they did, and we are all now born in sin.
It is the free will of this sin nature that the believer is at war with at all times, it is our choice to obey and be submissive to Christ in love, or not to, it is completely in our control to not fall, but to jump into the temptations of the adversary, no one makes that decision for us but us. And so then the opening statement of this letter to you is truth, the old man inside of me wants me to die and give control back over to him, his desire is to submit to no one. Everything in this matter must be connected to patience, and if there is one thing that we as sinful creatures are not, it is patient, we want it and we want it now, why should I have to wait for what I rightfully deserve, what I seek should be mine, and no one should be able to tell me otherwise. By the power of my own free will I should be able to make decisions for myself based upon my own desires and not those put upon me by others, my perceived rights should be what I say they should be, not God’s or anyone else’s prescribed ideologies.
This is the soil in which all the roots of our sinful nature grow, pride, everything else is secondary to it. More money, more power, fame, recognition of achievements, everything grows in the sour soil of pride.
“I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:14) Pride was found in Satan, and this pride was offered to Eve with the words, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5) and that was all it took, pride said to her you can have more. I really want to be witness to that day and hear if Adam said anything to his wife, his demeanor as he took of the fruit from her hand, and if he even glanced at the serpent when he did so, for this is where it all started, this is where the sinful nature of man began. What is is always better understood when the beginnings of that thing are made clear to us.
The old man inside of me wants me to quit, to give in and begin again to serve self as I once did before my Lord called me. Get all you can get before it is too late, the world awaits and all the pleasures it offers are yours for the taking. Quit being a servant and once again be the master of your fate, lead your life without any help from anyone. The body of sin does not want to die, he wants to be served, he wants to be the master, it is his desire to accept the pride that is rightfully his, and not to be servant to any, he does not want to be crucified with Christ. He loves the world and he hates me.
Do you understand what I am talking about here my friends, do you still remember what it was like before Christ came to live in your life, in the before time when you ruled your world? Not that I am asking any of you to regret this decision, that would be ridiculous in the extreme, but if you cannot remember, you cannot help those who are still there. Pride is where the lost live, it is their nature, and you can no more ask them to give up that nature than you could ask them to jump off a tall building and expect them to land unharmed. It is who they are, and it is who we used to be. I matter, I am good enough, I should be able to live my own life as I please as long as I bring no harm to another, that should be good enough for God, if I need Him, I will call for Him, until then all is well.
Pride is an angry, petulant child that wants its way, it can see no reason for the assistance of others, but when it is given those who gave should feel fortunate that they were able to do so. Pride wants to be worshiped, and that is the reason the soil that it grows in is rancid, for God alone is worthy and deserving of worship, it is so sad that so many will not realize this until that day that they stand in front of Him. That is what separates our type of pride, human pride, and that which resides in Satan, he knows his end, there is no question in his mind. Not only was he there at the beginning of creation, but he saw all, even the glory of the Lord God himself, and still sought out self as his supreme master. This is why Jude 1:6 rests in truth, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” They were there, they saw with eyes that would put ours to shame, the truth of all that was created was made known to them, and He who made all, and they still rebelled.
“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29) This is us; we have not seen. Do not believe the accounts of those who say they have died and seen heaven, only to return here to earth, there is no truth in these statements, no matter how much they and others would like to believe in them. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13) Yes, when the believer dies, he goes to heaven, no, none have gone and returned. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) We have not seen, and still we are blessed. Our old man knows where he came from, and he wants nothing more than to return, and do not forget this, you are your old man, it is you, not some creature from outside of you, it is who you used to be, the only invading species, as it were, inside of us is the Holy Spirit of God. And so, my brothers and sisters in Christ, if we were to phrase this properly, we hate the old man inside of us as well, and we wish he was dead too.
Not going to happen though, as long as we are here on this earth at least, so what are we to do about him? “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our LORD, I die daily.” (1st Cor. 15:31) Kill a little more of him every day. How? Stay in the Word of God, every day, pray, every day, specifically to be made by the Lord more into the image of His Son, there is no other way. The old man, the sinful nature that you were born with will fight you every single moment of every day, he will complain, he will say you deserve, he will not go quietly. You always have the entire armor of God on, good, you are prepared for the battle that the adversary will bring upon you, but this enemy is inside of you, and he knows you intimately. Do not think that he will not bring all to bear that he can, after all, you are trying to kill him, as he is attempting to do to you.
There are actually three separate and distinct individuals inside of every believer, your old sinful nature, the you that God is conforming into the image of His Son, and the Holy Spirit of God. I know who is going to win in the end, no question, until then, do not rest from the battle, “For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2nd Cor. 5:14-15)
He loves us so much my friends, He loves us more than we will ever be able to imagine, whatever the cost, it is worth the price that He asks. Why try to hold onto any longer that which will be discarded in the end.