“Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 6: 19-23
I’d venture to say I’m not the only one who is knee deep in the trenches- fighting an endless battle against a relentless flesh, sinful nature, and sharp-shooting demonic fiends. Undoubtedly, this is a tango that every Christian with a genuine heart must tangle with.
The irony in that analogy is obvious. Dancing with the desires of my flesh is dangerous. Furthermore, pirouetting with the Devil can be a perilous gamble. One can literally waltz their way into the burning flames of Hell.
A personal pet-peeve of mine is “Fake Christianity.” I do not have patience for political correctness. So let’s get real. Even better…let’s get raw; 100% authenticity with no nonsense. If you’ve come for the warm and fuzzies, this is not the place. It is my opinion that fluffy-feel good pastors need to be severely throat punched. You know who I’m talking about: the one who pretends that the Christian life demands a spectacle of perfection for all others to watch. And I do mean a Broadway show of impeccability. When disaster occurs or sin emerges within another’s life, approaching with love is their last intention. He and others would rather just chastise and make a public display of the other person’s transgressions, rather than point to the grace and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.
Truth be told, there is a beast that lingers within our shadows- even for those who wear the “Christian” name badge. While this figure is not a possessive demon (Christians who have trusted solely in Jesus are protected by the seal of the Holy Spirit: Ephesians 1:13), this brute is a force to be reckoned with. So no one…and I mean absolutely no one…can boast by our sinless nature or good deeds.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God…” ~ Ephesians 2:8
Depravity is a ten-headed figure which haunts the soul. Not necessarily because God simply allows it- but sometimes merely because our flesh is a hindrance. Yes, Satan does tempt. However, within each of us there is a heart issue that can only be cured by the continual renewing of Christ Jesus.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” ~ Jeremiah 17: 9-10
Personally, I have given this monster a name. Mr. DAALF is a silhouette of darkness that follows my every move. As a Follower of Jesus Christ and Child of God he cannot touch me. Nevertheless, he can taunt and tease. Some of you are probably whispering to yourself, “Okay. McKethan has lost his mind.” Actually, this is the result of a well thought-out journey that has spared many sleepless nights, and a waterfall of tears.
One trait of a mature minister or Christian is to be fully aware of their weaknesses. Furthermore, be pre-emptive in their walk with Jesus. Admittedly, this is still a work in process for me. But many folks think men like me: pastors, chaplains, etc., live perfect lives. This notion is utter nonsense. A Man of God is just as capable of being paralyzed by sin as anyone else. In fact, the spiritual warfare I’ve experienced over these last years in the ministry has been more intense than ever before in my life.
Yet, being mindful of personal frailties allow for combative actions to take place- that is spending time with the Lord in prayer and the Word of God. Mr. DAALF stands for an acrostic which identifies my personal sinful nature. These are the pesky little demonic ankle bitters that have stirred, or actively do stir, derision within my life every moment of my existence:
I’ve often asked the questions: If I love Jesus so much, then why do I have a burning desire to run away from Him on a daily basis? Why does my flesh flirt with things like: lust, pride, or even hate? Am I really a Christian? Does this make my faith a phony?
Throughout this voyage in life involving failure I have often reflected over the Book of Romans. In chapter 6 the Apostle explains how the Blood of Jesus deliver’s us from our sin. Romans 7 expounds on the battle which occurs within us- specifically the skirmish between the Old vs. New Nature. In other words, our past verses our identity in Christ. While a Christ Follower becomes a new being washed by the Blood of Jesus, Satan prefers to haunt us with the shell of our old selves. Moreover, our sinful nature prefers to listen.
In this two week mini-series titled TORN, we are going to be walking through an expository of Romans 7, while keeping this idea of personal frailties in mind. What are intimate weaknesses you as a Christ Follower battle each day? Are you mindful of these flaws? Namely, have you surrendered these vices to the Lord in full? This battle between our old and new nature is a continual process which takes humility and prayer. Take the next two weeks to reflect upon your “MR. DAALF,” whatever that may be.
The Main Idea of the Book of Romans:
- The Apostle Paul wrote this book to the Christian Churches in Rome, approximately in the year A.D. 57.
- “This book is a long theological argument about how unrighteous sinners may receive right standing with God.” Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding the Bible, Kendell H. Easley
Additional Reading: Romans 6
“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Prayer: “Father God, help me live an authentic life and be aware of my personal frailties, throughout this battle between my old and new natures. I want to live genuinely for You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.