“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Romans 7:19-21)
I find that there’s this reserve on my insides, like an underground river that extends from God-knows-where. And, waxing a tad metaphorical, it’s that river I’d like to touch on. Because if I had one way to describe that place in us that no one sees, it’d be that underground river that’s full of all the things you wouldn’t want anyone else witnessing. Things that cause me to do what I would rather not and frankly, don’t like thinking about. And I’m not referring to some laundry list of “sins” that are easily suppressed and overcome purely by virtue of willpower. There are more and subtler acts that spring from deep wounds only God sees. Forgive me if I’ve taken your hand and led you down into a territory that isn’t usually accessible. But it’s me we’re talking about.
It is what it is, but I hate it
Okay. And this is very important: Without God’s word with which to frame the way we look at this stuff, it either won’t get dealt with or be seen incorrectly and therefore…never see the light of day. Even after you accept the Lord, there are things deep that time and God will bring to the surface.
“Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:14-15)
What Paul is saying here is that we have, by our nature in this world, inherited a strain (call it a source–like a riverhead) that is corrupt. Without Christ, there’s no escaping it. Now. Assuming you’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice for you sin, there are still ways of thinking that are in keeping with that dead and polluted source. When I spoke above of the “reserve” that I glimpse every once in a while, I refer to subconscious means of meeting needs based on wounds and needs unmet in the realm that I don’t have access to. To see those brackish waters is disconcerting and unnerving but the saving grace is to realize that my source now springs from Jesus and not nothing.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (John 7:38-39)
One way the Holy Spirit is symbolized is a river. Crystal-clear and ever-flowing, you’ll find as you grow in Him, deeper and deeper undercurrents. As you are led by Him ever further, it’s those commensurate places He’ll touch on that are preventing you from in turn growing in Him. If (when) He sheds His light on those deep places (it very well may be through certain people who come in your life, the likes of which you’ve never encountered) don’t fret. God’s your Father and nothing will change that. But know that if you desire to commune with Jesus through successive stages of life, an excavation will begin and it’ll hurt but it won’t last forever. Let those dead places wash by and be refreshed in their wake.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)
The devil’s been soundly defeated with Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s now up to us to maintain this truth, living it out on each level of our selves to which God graciously grants us access.