May I confide in you? Some days--more often than I would care to admit--I feel like my own personal version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You remember the literary tale, right? Dr. Jekyll was a brilliant scientist who was so distraught by the evil within himself that he created a potion that was intended to strip the evil from his body, leaving him good and clean and right. Only, as is the case with most "magic potions," it didn't work. Instead of cleaving the wickedness from himself, he essentially cleaved his personality in two, leaving one good, wholesome man and one evil monster of a man. Each character fought for control of the single body, and the life of Dr. Jekyll became a life-long battle to remain dominate over Mr. Hyde.
Like Jekyll, I am often distraught over the horrible things buried deep within my heart. Every now and then, my mask of godliness will slip, and I'll catch a glimpse of things so dark and horrible that I have to turn away. I see billows of bitterness and resentment. I hear whispers of pride and arrogance. A lack of compassion. Love missing in action. And the thoughts, oh the thoughts that run rampant through my brain. It's enough to send me seeking my own magic potion to rid myself of such unholiness.
I guess the truth is that we are all a bit like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When Jesus saved us, he severed sin's hold over us and gave us power over it, which means that we no longer have to sin. It is in our nature, but we are no longer slaves to it. However, because it is in our nature, and we still live in bodies of flesh, that sin nature still lies just under the surface, waiting for an opportunity to assert itself and take control. Mr. Hyde (or in our case, Mr. Flesh) represents all the worst parts of ourselves that we would rather just go away. But until the return of Christ, when we can shed these earthly vessels, there's no escaping the presence of Mr. Flesh, but that's not to say that we can't escape his power. And the key to that escape lies in Christ.
As I said, when we asked Jesus to save us, He severed sin's hold on us, but to be daily delivered from the power of sin, we have to make a choice--serve God or serve flesh. The truth is, we can't do both because our flesh doesn't want the same thing that God wants. Every day, hour after hour, we have to determine that we will not give in to our fleshly desires, thoughts or attitudes but instead, we will honor God in everything that we do. Just like Jekyll, we're in for a life-long battle, but unlike the mad scientist, we don't have to face it alone. God is our strength. He is our help. He will give us what we need to defend ourselves against--well, ourselves. He will provide us with the power to say "yes" to the good and "no" to the bad. It is He alone that can give us victory over Mr. Flesh.
What about you? Do you feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Do you find yourself examining your spiritual walk and cringing because you feel you should be further along? Do you sometimes frustrate yourself by the ungodly things you do? If so, you're in good company, but take heart because there is hope. While we cannot rid ourselves of this fleshly nature, we can control it by the power of God. And He is offering us the power if we'll only accept it. Don't try to face Mr. Flesh alone. He's a formidable foe, and if we're not careful, he will take over. Fortunately, though the flesh is strong, God is stronger. Tell Him your troubles. Seek His help. And allow Him to help you fight off Mr. Flesh. You'll be glad you did!
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. - Galatians 5:16-17