I recently noticed that the popular NBC TV show, Heroes, is boasting a new series with the promo “In every hero there could be a villain”. It seems to be centered around the idea that the heroes are also the villains at different times throughout the drama. I think I can relate. But I would argue that in every hero there IS a villain.
I have been a believer in Jesus Christ since I was five years of age. I was dramatically converted from a life of thumb-sucking and temper tantrums, I like to say. In reality, I know I was “born from above,” as John chapter 3 puts it, because of the warfare that has raged in my soul ever since, among other reasons. Recently, I have felt frustrated with some of the ways that I have been tempted and, at times, given in to my old nature, the sinful power in me, the “villain” that opposes everything I want to be for God. I’ve been asking myself alot of questions. Questions like:
Where does my desire to tear down another person in order to build myself up come from?
Why do I worry about the future when I am promised my needs will be cared for forever?
What keeps me from sharing God’s truth to my aquaintances every chance I get?
Why do I care so much about my own comfort?
Why do I fear for my own loss when everything that really matters I already have, and that which I have I can never lose?
Why do I lose my joy? How can I fix my eyes on any earthly situation for more than a moment when I could be gazing (spiritually) into the eyes of my Redeemer?
How can I neglect to truly pray when I know that all that I could ever want is found in the whisper of His name?
Why do I choose to feed my physical thirst and neglect feeding my spiritual thirst when my appetite for the former is never quenched, but the latter springs up unto life eternal?
How is it that I can sin and not shed a single tear when Jesus Christ wept over my sin in the Garden the night before it cost Him His life?
Why do I no longer tremble when I think of how close I came to spending all of forever in eternal damnation and punishment?
How can I forget so easily the agony of that night in the garden or in Pilate’s palace? How is it that Golgotha slips so quickly from my mind?
Why does my anger rise up within me when I am ridiculed – do I not deserve every word against me and more?
How can I choose the evening sitcom over bedside prayers with my children?
How can I allow images of women other than my wife to linger in my mind?
What causes me to desire to deceive or withhold information in order to be praised by my peers or obtain a larger paycheck?
Why do I choose to stay in bed some mornings when I could be exploring the riches of the Holy Scriptures?
Why do I quickly question and want to rebel in my heart against any and all authority set over me regardless of who it is?
How do I fall in love so quickly with anything and everything that tickles my fancy when it displaces my first love for my Savior?
Why do I fail to be content when I already have everything that is good for me?
These are just a few of the questions that lately have plagued my mind. I want to do what is right. I want to be holy. I get so tired some times of struggling with my self. I see in me this law that all that I don’t want to do, that I do. And that which I want to do, I don’t do. What a treacherous man I am! Who will rescue me from from this war that rages in my soul? Thank God that I can be free through Jesus Christ, my Lord. So with my mind I am serving this principle of Christ, but with my flesh I am serving this principle of sin. (See Romans 7:22-25 – my own paraphrase)
Once again, my victory over this arch enemy deep within lies in Scripture. Romans chapter 8, verses 5,13, 14, 26 & 32 seems to spell it out.
Verse 5 teaches me to set my mind on the things of the Spirit.
Verse 13 teaches me to put to death the actions of the sinful nature (the flesh).
Verse 14 commands me to follow the Spirit.
Verses 26 & 32 prompt me to pray for the victory.
Can it really be that simple? Yes, I think it can be. Has God’s will ever been hard to understand? The difficulty is in obeying these simple commands daily. This battle that I face every day is won by following these four commands. When I keep my mind on spiritual matters (the Word of God) through memorizing, meditating and mentioning (Psalm 119:11 & Joshua 1:8) it consistently, I have obeyed the first command. But I have only begun the battle. When I refuse to obey the desires of my sinful nature, I have gained another part of the victory.
Thirdly, I must follow the Spirit of God. “Follower” is a synonym with “disciple” from which we get the word discipline. We must discipline ourselves to follow the new law of the Spirit. Over 1000 commands are given in the new testament and by God’s grace, we are to follow them. Not as legalists trying to obtain God’s favor, but as children seeking to please Him who has made us accepted in the beloved. But, even this is futile if we fail to follow verses 26 & 32.
It is only when I add quality time before the throne of God, allowing the Spirit to pray through me in groanings that often cannot even be uttered, that I ensure I have done my part and have been victorious. Yes, and I know that I am victorious over this principle of sin because I am more than a conqueror through him that loved me and that predestined me to be conformed to the image of his Son. (Romans 8:30 & 37)
Praise God for the victory that I have over the villain inside me when I simply trust and obey the truths of His word! And I don’t even need to watch the TV show.