Phlebotomic is a blog experiment that seeks to gather multiple perspectives around a common prompt, which is provided weekly.

Last week's prompt was "Beauty"...

This week's prompt is "Path"...

01 February 2009

Victory: In the Bag

My good friends went on vacation recently and left me to watch their house and two cats. Have you ever watched a cat playing with a toy mouse?... Like, by itself? Not 'you holding the mouse-on-a-string,' but the cat just going after it? Maybe if you've ever seen Will Ferrell's demo tape for SNL you have an idea of what I'm talking about.

So, this one cat does just that. Pretty entertaining to watch. He picks the thing up with his paws, throws it into the air, pounces on it, dangles it over the edge of the couch (by himself, mind you) with one paw and then goes in for the kill with the other. All of this and the result is always the same... the cat wins.

I think that our battle with the flesh/old man (or whatever you wanna call it) is kind of like this. In Romans chapter 6, Paul writes "knowing this, that our old self was crucified with [Jesus], in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin." The phrase "done away with" does not actually mean that "our body of sin" is totally destroyed. The Greek word means something more like "rendered powerless" or "made impotent" (If you've heard Jeff Harris on this topic you probably already know that).
Now, there is no way that anyone would take you seriously if you told them, "Yeah, my cat got beat up by his toy mouse the other day. Pretty bad. Walking with a limp and EVERYTHING." Why is that? Because the mouse has no real power. Victory is already guaranteed for the cat. The only power that that mouse has is the power that the cat attributes to it.

In the same way, we're told later on in Romans 6 and 8 to live by this new law of the spirit, one that has superceded that of sin and death. Reality has changed. Man, it's so hard to take that in, isn't it? Reality has changed because of Jesus' death, because of His conquering sin and death through resurrection. Every battle that we will ever fight for the rest of our lives--against the accuser, against the old man, against the spiritual forces in this world--victory is already GUARANTEED. We are more than conquerors through Him! If I could only let that reality sink in and stick!

"Don't you know that to whomever you present yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey?" I feel like I've been in some kind of stupor. Why do I present myself to the paralyzed man as his slave? Why do I fight with the mouse and struggle as if it has some power over me?

Every victory in the spirit, EVERY VICTORY, is already in the bag.
It's just that sometimes I think that I really want to lose.

"For thus the LORD G-d, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
'In repentance and rest you will be saved.
In quietness and trust is your strength,'
But you were now willing.
And you said, 'No, for we will flee on horses,'
Therefore you shall flee!
'And we will ride on swift horses,'
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!" Isaiah 30:15-16

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