The Tearing Away of the Old Man

 

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“You will have to let me undress you,” says Aslan the Lion… So desperate was Eustace, even his fear of Aslan’s claws was not enough to stop him from laying down flat on his back. Laying anxious on the ground, here’s what Eustace felt… The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. . . . Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off — just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt — and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me — I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . . After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me . . . in new clothes.

~ CS Lewis, from The Voyage of The Dawn Treader

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him the whole fullness of Deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.
~ Paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Colossians 2

Oh beloved, it is true.

We are a tenacious people. And it is not wrong. G_d has built into us a great ability to continue along a path. But, just as stubbornness in a child is usually a problem, our unwillingness to vary from our course usually leads to destruction.

Not only were we guys who were dead in our sins, we (at least, many of us) had become guys who had a reason to stay where we were. Oh, it is not that we were comfortable in our addiction. But, we sure did like the feeling of the lie, as whatever we did worked its way through our system.

Worse too, the euphoric recall (that insanity that reminded us only of the upside – and ignored the downside) of our life-dominating sin, prompted us to keep looking back over our shoulder, that we might go back to the burning-down-life we kept trying to leave. We thought to ourselves: “Maybe just one more taste, just one more look at that curve, just one more shot, or just one more drink….”

Disaster.

But then, it can (and did) get worse for many of us. We began to somehow try to get free from our old lives. We took upon ourselves to read books, work out, try harder, and just believe in ourselves. But, the problem with believing in dead flesh, is that it is dead. It is utterly unable to perform that which we hope. And so, our flesh faked us out again.

Any of you reading this, who have not felt the false flag joy of thinking that a new ‘method’ of getting free from addiction was going to work – only to have it fail – may not comprehend this. There is this dry aloneness, all doused with shame and regret and anxiety and fear. It really is horrible. It is so horrible, that this is why we go back out on the binges we do. We know things are hopeless, so we try to at least make the pain of the umpteenth failure go away.

And hopefully, this is where it ends. Because if it doesn’t, we are going to be packed in a padded room, a jail cell, or in a coffin. Tens of thousand in the US alone don’t make it this year. We are so tenacious and broken at the same time, that we just follow through and kill the rest of anything in us that is even a little alive.

But G_d!

Can we see it?

Read the passage again. Jesus, if we will but turn to Him and let Him, comes in and cuts away that dead flesh. He does it in a way that we kinda sorta tried to do it before, but were too afraid – and far to unable to do for ourselves. He comes into the most intimate part of us and cuts away the deadness. But then, He goes even further than we could have even imagined.

He buries us. He drowns us. He finishes the killing we had started of ourselves. It is horrible. And it hurts. But, in all the pain, we are beginning to believe – and we are most definitely beginning to see The Light. We take our last breath…. And we are finally, truly and completely dead. But now, it is not a disaster – it is a victory beyond anything we could have ever comprehended.

Replacing the dry anxiety, is a cool and refreshing Oil working Its way through the deepest part of our being. Where there was fear, suddenly is the beginning of a confidence we have never had before. It is now a confidence well-placed. Any self-confidence is seen for the joke that it was (and is, and will be). Now, the confidence is in us, but it is focused away from us, and onto Him! For now, HE IS ALIVE IN US!

“Hah! What is this?!?!,” We say to ourselves. But the Voice that answers is within us, though it is not us. “You are free. It is done. I AM able. I have done this. Where are those who would condemn you?” We hesitate for a moment (this is all so new), and we answer, “They seem to be running in shame Lord. Why is this?”

His answer is what we have always hoped to hear.

“You are more powerful than you could ever begin to imagine child. I have made my abode with you. And you are now within the very God of the universe. We are one. All that I have is yours. Welcome child. I AM so glad to have you home.”

So… are you struggling in your addiction? Maybe you are not quite dead enough yet, to begin living. It is time to stop trying, and time to let Jesus come in and finish the job. You (and this fool of a writer) can’t even kill ourselves right. It takes the One who has already gone down through the grave to guide you, otherwise you will most surely be lost.

Tonight is your night, beloved. Time to let G_d cut away the deadness, and make you alive in Himself.

Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalm 53; Proverbs 23

Daily Quote: The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: “Where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you.” The Lord calls all to Himself with the voice of the Gospel, and His voice is heard in all the world: “Come to Me, My sheep. I created you, and I love you. My love for you brought Me to earth, and I suffered all things for the sake of your salvation, and I want you all to know My love, and to say, like the apostles on Tabor: Lord, it is good for us to be with You.” 
~St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings, IX.27

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

 

 

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