This last couple of weeks, I was reading from Carlos Whittaker, from his little book Kill the Spider and he made some comments that have a way of really sticking with me.
In Kill the Spider, Whittaker empowers us to destroy the roots of our deep-seated habits so we can embrace true freedom in Christ. “You can’t just clear away the cobwebs; you need to find the spider — the source of the issue — and take it out.”
Thinking of my own life, and journey, I have learned to look at humanity for what it is. A bunch of imperfect people trying their best to live a good life and make good decisions. And it gave me breath. As it should you.
Sometimes, on some issues, we operate in grey areas, but the majority of us have no trouble discerning the difference between right and wrong. There is something deep inside a human being that allows us to differentiate good and bad. We intrinsically know because we all have the fabric of the King of Kings woven inside of us. God Himself created each and every one of us, and I believe that is why, even when we don’t know Jesus, we are able to make those judgments.
So why is it that we cannot stop doing bad?
Why is it that yesterday, when driving past that homeless man, I knew in my heart I should have talked to him, but I didn’t? Why is it that when my wife drove up with a vehicle filled with groceries that needed to be carried in, I sat on my phone, hoping she would bring them up all alone and not bother me for help? (Obviously, that didn’t go down as I was hoping.)
The struggle is real.
But the struggle isn’t always massive. Wanting to check out who/what’s on social media on my smartphone instead of helping my wife with the groceries isn’t a massive moral failure, but it is a selfish choice.
Paul talks about this struggle in Romans 7:15-17 (CSB): “For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me.”
That is a lot of dos and don’ts and want to dos but can’ts. It’s almost too much. At first glance, it would seem as though Paul is telling us — in the most eloquent way possible — we are screwed. The Whittaker translation reads this way: “I’m so confused. Why in the world can’t I do what I know is right, and why am I always doing what is wrong? Relax. It’s not you. It’s sin. But does that mean I can just chalk this up to, ‘Oh, well, I guess I’m just gonna sin forever?’ I want to do good. I feel that deep inside. But lookie there. I just chose bad again. Ugh! I know God is inside of me, but I also know that sin is inside of me. And so continues the crazy battle.”
It’s a battle. It is not going to end. If we can come to the understanding and acceptance that it is not going to end, then we are close to the answer to this battle inside of our hearts. And the answer lies in the next chapter of Romans (Romans 8:1-2, 11 CSB): “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death… And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.”
Thank you, Jesus. And Carlos Whittaker’s translation: “Gaze at God. Glance at life.” That’s it! We are all going to have this battle raging inside of our hearts. We are all going to have to face this battle between flesh and spirit on a daily basis. But instead of staring straight into the face of flesh, look up. Stare up. Gaze up. When you do that, “He who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through His Spirit who lives in you.”
What secrets are you keeping?
- Let’s start replacing some of the overwhelming lies in your life. The lie that I was a fraud and only capable of doing good every once in a while was more massive than I could even imagine. But that’s just it. It’s a lie. And all it took was some quick contemplation.
- Look back at the last week. What are the good things that you pulled off? When did light win for you over darkness?
- Think of at least three people in your life whom you love and care for. What are some ways in which you have been light to them over the years?
Pay attention in the next few weeks. Notice times when you may overreact to a situation or become more emotional than the situation warrants. Here is where you ask Jesus, “What is this? Why am I reacting this way? Stay with me, Jesus. Show me why.”
What secrets are you keeping?
What spider is lurking that Jesus wants to draw out and kill so you can find freedom in Him?