The other night, my husband and I had a fight.
It was caused by something so silly (aren’t they always?) that I am too embarrassed to share.
We both said harsh words, but the main problem was that I was being a total… female dog.
The Lord strongly convicted me of this the next day, and I apologised to my husband for being so horrible and disrespectful to him.
He kindly forgave me, but commented, “Sometimes I feel like that’s the real you, and the rest of the time you’re just fighting to push it down and treat me well.”
Well, to be honest, that stung a bit but I was glad it came out!
(Some of you may be shocked by my husband’s candidness. But I have to say, one of my favourite traits of his has always been his honesty. I never have to wonder whether I am getting his true opinion, because he always shares it freely, whether I will like it or not. God has frequently used him in this way to grow and sharpen me, and I am so thankful for it.)
In a way, my husband’s feeling was right.
The real me is a sinner, prone to selfishness and harsh words. The real me only cares about herself, deep down. The real me thinks her own feelings are more important than anyone else’s.
That’s why it looks natural to him when I fly off the handle, all mean looks and stone-cold words. It does come naturally! It’s my sin nature.
But that’s not the whole truth.
When I became a Christian, the real me died on the cross with Jesus. So that sin nature that shows up now and again?
It’s no longer the real me – it’s more of a ghostly imprint from the past, dead but not yet gone.
The Bible refers to this as the “flesh” and speaks often about the constant struggle Christians will face as this flesh battles the new Spirit within them.
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
When I am treating my husband well, this is not an act or me being fake – it is the fruit of the Spirit working in me. It’s true, I would not be like that naturally, if it weren’t for Christ saving me and giving me the Spirit.
I can’t lay personal claim to any good that comes out of me.
After he made his comment, my husband and I cuddled and talked for a while. He apologised for suggesting I was being fake. And we both mused about how horrible it would be to married to each other were it not for Christ.
Bonus: Here’s a great song about making war on our sinful natures. It has John Piper in the intro, so it’s clearly awesome.
(If you don’t like rap – like my husband – you might want to skip this 😉 )