Inside Out

 

As we read the scriptures that follow, note from our inner-man, the person that no one sees but God, originates both the bad and good things that we do.  These contrasting natures come from within us.  Look what Jesus said:

 

BAD:  And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him.  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”  (Mark 7:20-23 ESV)

 

GOOD: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”  (John 7:38 ESV)

 

Some people would describe it as a “bad dog and a good dog” that coexists within us where one takes over the other.  I don’t think that describes it adequately.  I think it is better described as a wild dog that has a master or not.  Without a master the wild dog does what wild dogs do.  They act out in a typical fashion.  It just comes naturally.  That aspect in us that no one sees may look tame on the outside. But if the right button is hit, then we go to our basic nature, and the wild dog comes out.  Oh, it may still keep its disguise on.  I’ve seen some mighty mild-mannered people no one would suspect that could say or do some horrendous things to other people and they never see it coming.  These people become unleashed from the nature they want us to see, and show what really is going on inside.  I know this from terrible personal experience with family, friends and worst of all myself.

 

Apostle Paul spoke of the same condition.  “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”  (Romans 7:15 ESV)

So, it appears that even as a Christian, we are never completely free from our old flesh nature.  It jumps up without warning.  At best this nature is “yoked” to Christ.  It is this “yoke” that He mentions when He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29 ESV)

 

I’ve tried to build a biblical foundation about the good and bad person within us so that this next statement I will make will have context.  I believe it is up to you and me to volitionally take this “yoke” Jesus references on our self.  He offers it. It is needed.  But He doesn’t force it on us.  If our nature is not “yoked” to His nature, we will eventually let loose and let fly the bad nature that lives within us.  It is a burden we will have to manage the rest of our life until our escape from this life allows our complete transformation.  If we are not aware that this old nature could show up, then it will show up when we least suspect it, and people will be hurt including our self.

 

There have been too many victims in my life to ever take casually my ability to fail and go back to my old flesh nature.  I’ve been forgiven every failure that has been confessed and repented of.  Thank God He is a God of grace.  Even so, I know that repentance and forgiveness also mean learning what sets me off and to avoid it.  I know that I must go before the Lord every day, and often throughout the day, to resubmit to His yoke.  I know this about me.  When I am tired or stressed or up against a busy time-line, or around someone who provoke me, I know the conditions are right for a lapse.  Therefore, I’m learning that I need to pause and prepare for what I know will be a challenge to the man I want to be, and the man I’m afraid I would be.

 

Although this seems like a lifelong battle, and it is, the effort is well worth the benefit.  Jesus said that the life that abides in Him and He in that life, this life will benefit from a constant rush of the Living Water that flows through this person.  This Living Water is Jesus Himself.  It is He who answers the door of our life when evil comes knocking.  Let Him answer that knock that awakens the beast within, by keeping it in the “yoke” next to Him.  Then He will notch up another victory for you and me, and the beast will stay in his cage.