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What's Our Real Enemy?

September 26, 2019 | Jon Hall

One of life’s frustrations is to feel “powerless” to do what we say we want to do.
Some quick examples are failing to walk past that dessert table, struggling to “let go of what happen to us” and never conquering that troubling habit.
Books, seminars, sermons and devotionals often exhort us with what to do. They give us ten colorful and positive things that will happen if we can get past the finish line.
So, we hear the inspiring pitch and go with it. We even envision ourselves resting on that evergreen mountain of victory where the air is always fresh, and the streams are always flowing.
Yet, getting there seems to elude us. Once again, we end up settling for a patchy grove of dusty bushes at the foot of that glorious mountain of success.
We all know that getting to the mountain side is seldom a straightforward or easy path. But there are some truths that will make our climb easier.
One of those is that, for believers, it’s not about fighting our old sinful nature
Some will disagree with that. That doesn’t seem true, they will say. Besides, didn’t we hear a teaching on fighting our evil desires? That sounds like the old nature is alive and well.
But, Romans 6:2 says otherwise when it declares that we are “dead to sin” just like Jesus was dead when he died for us. Meaning, our sinful nature is now truly dead. Yep. It’s dead. No pink in those checks. Not coming up for air. Unlike Frankenstein, it can’t even come back to life when zapped with lightening.
Paul confirms this when he says that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (ESV 2Cor. 5:17).
The reason this is important is because when we believe our problem is our old nature, then we assume the fight is with it and what we need to do is to resist it, stomp on it and, if possible, nail it in a water-tight coffin so we can only hear it’s scratching fingernails.
This belief falsely assumes that it’s all about us working hard to fight our old evil nature that must be suppressed. There is no true victory here. It’s like pinning our old nature to the mat and never letting go.
Our problem is not our old nature, but the lies we believe about our sinful desires that keep them in place. Here’s an example.
If we falsely believe that we must control everything to be safe, then why should we stop trying to be in control since we will get hurt again? It’s the false belief behind our controlling behavior that’s driving us to do what we are doing.
My new nature in Christ doesn’t want to be a controlling person, but my false belief that drives my controlling behavior prevents me from letting it go.
Fight the desire, lose the battle. Change the lie-based belief and we will gladly give it up and reach that mountain where the air is always fresh and water is always flowing.