Tyrant vs. Loving King; Murderer vs. the Good Samaritan; greedy penny-pincher vs. generous philanthropist; liar vs. honest Abe…
We all recognize the battle between good and evil. We recognize the undesirable traits while aiming to gain more desirable ones. We go to war in order to keep evil from invading our countries. We stand firm against anyone who invades our homes in order to keep our families safe. The conflict between good and evil is well-known and accepted as part of our existence.
What is less spoken of is the full extent of the internal battle we all face. We do not like to speak aloud of the true inner turmoil that plagues us while we are on this earthly journey towards eternity. We avoid speaking to others- or even admitting it to ourselves- how deep the evil within us really dives. We do not speak of the darkness that sometimes threatens to take over our reasonable “good-natured” selves.
Personally I have reached a place in my life where this truth must be stated out loud- it is well overdue. I am sure many who know me will be somewhat surprised…..ok disturbed…..at this. This should be interesting. J
I mentioned to my wife the other day that, if I was single and had no children, I could very easily live one of two lives- An Assassin or a Monk. She looked at me like I was crazy, (and I don’t blame her). What I was trying to get across to my beautiful wife was that this human nature of mine is at direct opposition to the new man God has created me to me. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! You see, the assassin existed within me from birth. The dark, evil, selfish, hot-tempered guy who likes to fight and thinks problems should be solved with a quick execution of unforgettable violence was already comfortably taking up residence.
But, that day in 1991 (age 16) where I made a real commitment to Christ, a “new creation” also came to live in me. A new attitude, a new respect for others and a new purpose started growing within me. The old nature- the assassin- didn’t appreciate this new roommate in the least bit…the battle was on!
When one becomes a Christian it doesn’t mean that the old tendencies just suddenly go away. We are not suddenly perfect, patient, loving, joy-filled, do-gooders— not in the least. This is the part where you say, “But Taz, that verse you mentioned earlier said, “the old has gone”; doesn’t that mean your hot-tempered attitude should instantly be a thing of the past?” Great question but aaaahhhh, No!
Having Christ in us means that we now live with the ability to resist this old nature. We have the power of the Creator within in us which is more than enough to resist any and all temptations. “The Old has gone” means that the old, ungodly ways are no longer our focus, purpose or goal. However, we are also still trapped in this temporary human flesh which comes with a natural tendency towards doing the opposite of what God would have us do.
So the Assassin and the Monk square off in an epic battle in the sparring rings of our minds.
God says not to lie; Satan tempts us with all we could gain by omitting certain details. The Bible instructs us to forgive; we devise a plan of revenge. The Holy Spirit within me says to be faithful to my wife, I lust after another and cheat despite His warning (speaking of my first marriage) Someone violates my space and I picture them falling down a flight of stairs instead of showing the love and mercy Christ speaks of.
“Isn’t the assassin analogy going a bit far taz?” No, not really. As I said we usually avoid speaking aloud of exactly how DEEP this evil within us runs. I am a very hot-tempered, violent, impatient man at times. I have tendencies towards grabbing someone’s skull and squeezing while the try in vain to remove my hand to end the crushing, excruciating pain (you can thank WWF’s Von-Eric family for teaching me “The Claw”), I’ve pushed a guy down a flight of stairs and watched till he got to the very bottom and felt no remorse. For these reasons I truly believe that the sinful part of my nature can be accurately described as the Assassin. This is not to just give a name to the nature but so that I can- as a child of God- take a real look at this problem within me and then ask God to show me how to overcome it. I memorize Bible verses like:
Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and sin not, do not let the sun go down on your wrath”
James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”
The goal is that, with God’s help and guidance, the Assassin will be downgraded to a CIA agent, then further down to a bodyguard and finally a fully capable but humble, man of God who does not have a temper at all, in other words, a Monk who knows Martial Arts.