We are all familiar with those unnerving monsters that lurk maliciously under the surface of our lives; the ogres that take the form of an assortment of propensities and proclivities to unsavory behavioral tendencies such as lust, gossip, wrath, doubt, jealous, slander etc…Most of us try to push these fiends down into the dark depths of our lives, away from the public eye because we are scared someone might catch a glimpse of them although they can be elusive and defiant. What is most chilling is that they have a tendency to surface unexpectedly, at the most inopportune moments. They wait until we are most vulnerable to shoot out of the depths of our souls, glaring at us, underscoring our flawed-ness. For the believer, this can be most distressing because these character defects tend to mock our efforts to live as people in “good and regular standing.” Shouldn’t we be thinking about things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report (Phil. 4:8)? From whence then come these unholy thoughts, which threaten to rob us of the joy of our salvation, particularly if we give in to the temptation of identifying with them and start labeling ourselves by their names. Sometimes, we wrongly believe that their persistence in our lives turns off God’s love for us. Sadly, this can propel us into the futile mode of striving to conquer them by our own efforts so that we can overcome them and please God. Our ensuing constant failure to do so can degenerate into religious neurosis and depression, not to mention disillusionment and frustration about our faith. The struggle to do what is right and to avoid doing what is wrong is an uphill overwhelming one (Romans 7). Sin seems weirdly appealing even when we know that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Consequently, eerily, we often find ourselves caught in the delusion of optimistic bias, which always leads to spiritual bankruptcy.

No effort at self-cleansing can rid us of the stain of sin. As a matter of fact, such an effort can only end up in a fruitless religious existence which Jesus condemned and likened to white-washed tombs full of dead peoples’ bones (Matthew 23:27). On our own we are no match for our inherent inclination to do evil. We need divine help. True, God can never condone sin and we must never expect Him to overlook it. But He does something that human beings have repeatedly failed to do: He loves the sinner and hates the sin. Just because we are being harassed by unrelenting monstrous thoughts and inclinations embedded in the depths of our lives does not make us monstrous. That is why God, in His love for us, has provided a panacea for our spiritual malady in the Person of Jesus Christ. Only Jesus has the weapons, authority, and power to overcome these menacing leviathans skulking under the surface of our lives. God alone leads us in triumph, in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14). To Him be glory forever and ever.

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