For many years I fought like the dickens against my wicked, sinful self and his incessant urge to disappoint me in my pursuit of holiness. I fought to keep myself in line by making sure that all my spiritual ducks were in a row and my marching boots were tied tight. I constantly needed to make sure that I was appearing victorious over my sinfulness.
I kept fighting, but the battle didn't let up. I kept warring until I couldn't stand anymore. My mind would go numb and I'd be restless, useless, and feel worthless. "Dammit!" I'd think, "How can I be victorious and attain any form of righteousness with this depressed mind in control of my life." I fought to wake that coward up and told him he'd better get to work.
I used to take everything personally because everything used to be very personal. Why? Because I never left my own head. The war was in my head and so I needed to stay there and fight it. Conversations and relationships only made sense within the context of this ongoing battle for freedom.
Sanity was far off, clarity was a dream, and hope had taken a vacation in someone else's life. I wasn't happy for those who had these things. Instead, I was bitterly angry that I did not. I couldn't share in their joy because I didn't know what joy was. I was fighting a battle and I was too busy fighting to feel any joy. I was too busy saving my own soul.
Recently, and I mean very recently, I've realized that my fighting has been in vain. My fighting has been for myself and my own pride and my own gain. I've been trying to get free from myself by fighting to save myself. I've realized that the better stance to take is to simply let my "self" be killed.
The battlefield is strewn with bodies. They are personifications of every "me" I've ever tried to be and failed at being. They were never adequate. I could never whip them into shape. It was best that they die. What I didn't realize was that it was even better if all of me died. Even the things in me that weren't really that bad after all. None of "me" was worth preserving compared to the new life and creation God wanted to make me into.
For so many years I was trying to live a victorious Christian life in me. But life in myself, by my own strength and with my own fight has never led to a lasting victory. I've experienced momentary bursts of pride in self-serving "holy" accomplishments, but that moment fades fast and then the striving resumes.
The only lasting victory I've ever known has been as a result of a life lived in Christ. He already fought the battle and won. He wants to get busy making all things new and strong for his glory. Meanwhile, we hack at our dead selves in the battlefields of our minds.
Reckon yourself dead, crucified with Christ, so that you can also reckon yourself ALIVE in Christ and His victory.
The battle has already been won. Christ has already been victorious. In him, I can be made fully alive, free from my self and strong in the power of His Spirit.