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My flesh

Those of you who know me well (ok, even just a little) know I have a tendency to beat myself up.  I often think things like, if I was a really a Christian I wouldn't have such a strong battle with sin.  I have always felt like my sin nature was beating my new nature.  But last night a good friend said something so wonderfully freeing and encouraging.  She said your battle is not against your sin nature - you don't have a sin nature.  It is against your flesh.  At first I didn't really understand the difference...even as Matt and I were driving home I still didn't get it.  I pondered it as I fell asleep and when I woke up this morning it just hit me.  Yes, I was born with a sin nature - we all are!  But the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior I was (and am) a new creation.  Where does that leave me though?  I still struggle with sin. Who cares whether we call it "a sin nature" or "flesh".  I was praying about that very thing and I asked God to give me some sort of analogy so that I could visualize the difference.  I almost immediately pictured one of many images I have seen of animals nursing a different type of animal.  For example a dog nursing a kitten, a pig nursing a puppy etc...and remembered how often in those situations as the kitten or puppy grows up they tend to act more like the breed they are spending time with than their own breed.  However, whether they act like it or not, they are and will always be DIFFERENT!  Before I had even fully thought through that analogy another one popped into my head - the velveteen rabbit.  This one might even be a bit more theologically sound (because the bunny does not start out real - he starts out as a toy).  Later in the story, after he has become a real bunny - it takes him a little while to learn how to use his legs.  I am like that bunny - I am new, I am real - it is just taking me a while (and will take my whole life) to learn how (and allow the Holy Spirit in me) to be who I really am.

So, how and why does this whole idea effect me so positively?  Well when I am heading down the beat myself up, I'm such a bad person path - I am going to try to remember that though I may have made a bad decision, had a bad attitude, fallen into temptation once again, that is not who I am.  I am not a bad person.  I am a new creation.  It is Christ who lives in me and not myself.  And as far as the battle against the flesh (not my sinful nature - that is gone) - yes, it will continue. There is a lot of reprogramming that needs to be done.  I continually forget who I am and act more like who I used to be.

New International Version (©1984)
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

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