Longing for a Certain Death
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin… There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. ~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, from Romans 7 & 8
Oh beloved, it is true. The war is on, even though it is over. It is just that the defeated enemies of sin and death and flesh and cosmos and spirit refuse to call it quits. It is the astounding central “I” of all of these things that keeps them wagging their tongues at the Victor.
This fool of a writer has been in the midst of the battle with all of this in the past many weeks. All of this started with an injured nerve between the C6/C7 vertebrae, and the need to take some medications that i really did not want to take.
Years of substance abuse have already proven their toll on my existence. And i seriously did not want to go off into some chemical jungle while living in the 3rd world. But the pain of the injury was so intense that the medical approach became necessary. And so, drugs it was for a former drug addict.
And while – thankfully – the effect of the painkillers was not too euphoric, the main issue for someone who has learned to walk in the Spirit is something other. Paul tells Timothy about this in one of his letters: “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Somehow, way before the medical journals showed the issue, Paul understood that taking certain chemicals into the system acts to block the sense of the flow of the Holy Spirit’s work in one’s life.
So, as this fool of a writer went off on this foolish venture, i could hear the Voice that was and is and will be my very Life growing fainter within my inner man. A resulting dull flatness emerged – reminding me of the bitter edge upon which my life rested in the past. And as the flatness emerged, the flesh of the old man in me erupted!
The battle was on. My eyes and thoughts and dreams and feelings were back to where they were many years ago. Only calculated time in His Word, and on my knees and with accountability partners kept me from falling back into the chaos of my former existence. It was horrible.
And even as the drugs have now cleared my system, the flesh of the old man still is strutting his stuff after having a brief run inside my head. He never got back onto the seat of authority of my heart, but he is taunting and screaming like he has made some headway.
Can we see it though? There is a beautiful answer to all dilemmas such as these. And it is simply remembering that the dilemma does not have to exist. And so, as the chemical blocks clear, and His Voice becomes clearer again (a mystic does live to hear Him), He begins to prompt us in our prayers.
Then, the prayers follow the Scriptures within which He marinates us. The prayers are then cyclically and firmly tested in the physical and circumstantial realm. And thus begins the rehabilitation of a true believer. We are disciplined and beaten firm (notice Who does the conditioning) back into the godliness He has already wrought. For it is not that the blade He has built is bad – it is just being drawn out sharp again.
I want none of this again. It seems a better path to simply die of pain, than to miss hearing His Voice again. Perhaps this is foolishness. But most of the life of a bondservant doesn’t make any sense to the world anyway. And so tonight, where He has led me to pray is down at the root of where the bitterness grows.
L_RD slay me.
Make me not just like You in this life.
Make me one with You.
Make me You to others.
So, are you struggling with something causing your flesh to erupt? We all will from time to time. There is no sin in noticing that part of us which cannot be redeemed. The question is: who are we going to listen to? Who are we going to follow? His Voice, or the voice that led us to bitterness and failure? Tonight is your night beloved. Time to learn the path to walking in His strength. He will give you everything you need. Makala Doulos and his family are now serving in China. Keep him in your prayers. You can email him at Makala@ps1611.org
Daily Bible Reading: Jeremiah 51-52; Philippians 3
Think About This: Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever. If you reject the ragamuffin gospel and turn your back on Christianity, do so because you find the answers of Jesus incredible, blasphemous, or hopelessly hopeful. ~ Brennan Manning
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7