cat on a leashBetween the ages of four and five, my family was living in Iceland at the Keflavik Naval base. One afternoon, my dad came back home with a cat that he said was rescued from an abandoned car, and became our family pet. This cat didn’t like me too much, because–for reasons logical to my five-year-old mind at the time–I would always try to walk the cat like a dog. I would tie a belt around her neck and try to go for a walk with the poor thing. Of course, that cat wasn’t having any of it, and would do the passive-resistance thing by laying on her side and not moving while I tried dragging her along, urging to just walk instead of being dragged. It’s a miracle I didn’t inadvertently choke the poor thing to death.

Again, I was five. I didn’t know any better. My parents did punish me when they caught me doing it. Please keep the threats to my life to a minimum, they do get boorish after a while. Anyway…

I bring up this trip down amnesia lane for the purpose of illustrating another bit of truth about my daily wanderings in this post-Evangelical wilderness of mine: my flesh just doesn’t want to cooperate. Since endeavoring to become a disciple of Jesus Christ and not merely a follower (there is a difference; perhaps one day I will finally write about that as well…on the list it goes), and letting the Holy Spirit do His thing with the sanctification process that will be going on until the day I go Home, my flesh isn’t very happy about it.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.– Galatians 5:24-25

The thing about crucifixion as a means of execution is, it’s not the most efficient or even humanitarian way of being put to death. It could take hours, days, even weeks for the condemned person to finally die. In the meantime, it’s a very painful, very horrendous and slowly antagonizing death. The metaphor is very apt, as my flesh is slowly dying, being put to death by the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification on me, and it knows it’s dying. It can feel the death processes very clearly. And it’s not going to go without a fight.

Basically, when my flesh can’t get what it wants, when it feels it’s being dragged along by the Holy Spirit upon the leash that ties it to me, it does what the cat in Iceland did: it tries to make the process as rough as possible by laying down and dragging along. I want to follow the Holy Spirit, but my progress is being hindered by this dead weight not wanting to comply.

But, I seem to be in good company with this struggle. As the same guy who wrote the words in Galatians, also wrote this in Romans:

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!– Romans 7:21-25

So, here I am, wanting to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, but being bogged down by my flesh more often than not. I despair, but then I remember that the Apostle Paul himself struggled with the same thing. And if one of the greatest followers of Jesus Christ had trouble, what makes me think I’m going to get to the end of this path I follow unscathed?

::END TRANSMISSION::