Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. – Romans 13:11-14
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Sometimes it is hard to believe that we have a choice. Sometimes we feel compelled to do the wrong thing. “I just snapped” as Mike Tyson famously pronounced after taking out a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear. I actually have some empathy for the Mike formerly known as Iron. I got so frustrated the other day about something that I grabbed a floppy house shoe and beat the wall. It made no sense whatsoever, but it got rid of some adrenaline, and I was calmer afterward. Plus because I didn’t use my fist like I used to, I didn’t have to fix a hole. I really need to break down and buy a heavy bag.
The truth is, though, that we always have a choice. Where our problem comes is that we do not always make the choice at the right point. Once we start to go down the dead-end road or the one where the bridge is out, our choices are more limited and possibly more painful.
The right decision is the one I can make in the light. My mind has two sides. No, not dumb and dumber, although I can understand where some folks might get that idea -- the light side and the dark side, or the flesh and the Spirit. Perhaps the thing that confuses me is that there is not always a conflict between the two sides. There are times when I want to do what I ought to do, or I ought to do what I want to do. Everything is harmonious.
Other times, I’d kind of like to slip something by over on the dark side. My siblings are between thirteen and seventeen years older than I am. I was probably still in grade school when I happened across a stash of my brother-in-law’s “men’s magazines” – nothing very extreme, Argosy and stuff like that, but they had different theme than Outdoor Life and Sports Afield. I was reading one of the articles in the attic when my sister came up and caught me, almost. I shoved the magazine under an old mattress. She asked me what I was doing, and I made up some farfetched story which even she wasn’t dumb enough to believe. I don’t know if I would have gotten in much trouble, but I didn’t want to find out. Perhaps more importantly, and what I’m trying to get at is that I didn’t want to risk losing access to my dirty little secret.
I think that’s a lot of my problem with walking in the Spirit. I don’t want to completely eliminate my access to the dark side. I just want to be able to toy with it a little, mull it over, like Billy Ray Cyrus (it may take a while to get that one and all you'll do is groan). Walking in the light twelve hours a day is not that hard. I don’t even think walking in the light 23 hours and 45 minutes a day is too much for me to handle. I just don’t want to give up that last fifteen minutes. I want to keep a little old nature preserve, over there in the shadows.