... a weekly letter of encouragement.
June 6, 1994
BILLY GRAHAM OR THE ANIMATED VERSION OF SPORTS' ILLUSTRATED'S SWIM WEAR EDITION:
The other evening as I settled into my easy chair, I found myself flipping from channel to channel. Here was Billy Graham speaking at one of his crusades. Stately. Godly. Penetrating. Reassuring. My heart was warmed as he reiterated truths precious to my heart.
"I think I'll see what else is on the tube." And BINGO: Blithe, lithesome Twiggy-type females frolicking in the surf, garbed with less than a kilo byte of clothing. Enticement. Excitement. Arousal.
"Oops...Back to Graham. I'm safe there." CLICK. "Ahh, Billy Graham."
But my imagination, now equipped with this explosive new fuel, began to go to work. My curiosity, coupled with the pull of my lower nature whispered, "Pssst...Dwight...Just go back for a moment. It won't hurt anything."
St. Paul and I were now soul mates in our struggle between the lower sinful nature and the indwelling Spirit:
"My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself not doing what I really want to do but doing what I really loathe...I often find that I have the will to do good, but not the power. That is, I don't accomplish the good I set out to do, and the evil I don't really want to do I find I am always doing...It is an agonizing situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my own sinful nature." (Portions of Romans 7:15 -24 --Phillips Translation)
So, what is a person to do when confronted with this kind of inner battle? Three suggestions:
#1 - Recognize the fact that the conflict between the two natures will be with you to the grave. Paul was a mature Christian when he penned the above account of his own inner war.
#2 - Understand that in our struggle with the two natures, we are not under condemnation. Take note that in the next breath Paul writes,
"No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are 'in' Christ Jesus...." (Romans 8:1 -- Phillips Translation)
#3 - Acknowledge the fact that it is only in appropriating the power of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can experience victory over the pull of our lower nature:
"I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord...Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh...The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin..." (Romans 7:25; Galatians 5:16; Romans 8:2)
Have a great week!
© Copyright 1996 Dwight Hill. Unlimited permission to copy or use is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
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