“And he said to them all, ‘If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’” - Luke 9:23 (KJV)
Bruce Willis is an American actor best known for his role as the infamous John McClane in the high octane and action-heavy Die Hard movie series. In all the Die Hard movies this reluctant protagonist with a “never-say-die” attitude is often out-numbered, out-gunned and out-resourced. However, McClane, even though he is often beaten, busted and bleeding, has this uncanny way of being untouched by the grip of death. It does not even matter what his antagonists employ in an attempt to erase him off the big screen. Whether it is a conflict involving grenades, C-4 explosives, RPG-7 missiles, helicopters or F-16 fighter jets, McClane consistently manages to survive whatever siege he faces.
Now I would like you to entertain and seriously consider another character in the believer’s life. Unlike McClane, this is a factual character rather than a fictitious one. He is hard to kill and the Lord has called us to terminate this spiritual terrorist. He is our flesh.
I refer to him as a spiritual terrorist because there are distinct similarities between the terrorizing nature of the flesh and an actual terrorist. A terrorist engages in a radical and extremist agenda that intimidates with fear and seeks to eradicate all those he or she considers to be enemies. Similarly, our old sinful nature, an ally of our ancient foe (Satan), also seeks to keep us in unbiblical fear. If left unaddressed, the flesh will blow up God's purposes and provisions of peace, blessings and victory in our lives. Consequently, the Lord has ordered us to kill the flesh on sight!
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”– Romans 8:13 (KJV)
“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” - Colossians 3:5 (KJV)
The term mortify means “to put to death” and “to make to die” (i.e. destroy, render extinct). It also conveys the thought that one can, by death, be liberated from any type of bond, literally to be made dead in relation to something.
Now for a large number of professing Christians the idea of putting something to death, specifically our sinful nature, is very difficult to process. It is even more difficult to actually make it a biblical practice. Also, many of today's liberals in the evangelical community and their progressive cohorts reject a theology that calls us to die to self. According to them, this type of theology is not compassionate and is considered extreme, antiquated, uncivilized, and incongruent with a pluralistic and all-inclusive culture. However, our directive comes from a divine source (the God of the Bible) and not a source that is man-centered and energized by devils:
“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” - 2 Timothy 3:2-5 (KJV)
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” - 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV)
This sin nature is the nature that came with us when we were born into this world. Like John McClane, he is hard to kill! Unlike John McClane, he is not a protagonist but instead a very ambitious antagonist. Our sinful and degenerate nature is also referred to as an old man in the scriptures. This old man was passed down from Adam. According to the Scriptures, he is considered corrupt to the core because he is characterized by deceitful desires.
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” - Romans 5:12
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” - Ephesians4:22
Join me next week as I continue to discuss how we can put our “old man” to death and walk victoriously in Jesus Christ.
For the Glory of God,