“our lives are a constant struggle, a battle between our old fallen nature and our new redeemed Christian nature.”
In the 1999 film “The Matrix,” the heroes of the film, those who fight against deception and oppression are betrayed by their own Judas, a character named Cypher. Cypher makes a deal with the enemy. In exchange for his betrayal he is promised the illusion of a life of comfort and pleasure. It doesn't matter to him that it is not actually real because it will seem “real” to him. He explains his betrayal by telling Trinity “I'm tired, tired of this war, tired of fighting.”
In the ongoing battle between good and evil, the spiritual warfare in which we are all engaged, our hearts are the battlefield and our souls are the prize. This war takes place within each of us and is characterized by the conflict between our fallen nature and our redemption in Christ. Through Baptism we have received the Holy Spirit. The law of God is written on our hearts, we know in our hearts what we should do.
But at the same time our fallen nature tugs at us, tempting us to self-indulgence and self-centeredness. This fallen nature battles against our angelic tendencies of self-sacrifice, and self-giving. We so often want to do the right thing, but we get tired of “fighting the good fight,” doing the wrong thing seems so much easier.
And so our lives are a constant struggle, a battle between our old fallen nature and our new redeemed Christian nature. This conflict within us is so universal it has become the basis for all the stories we tell each other, from stories shared around a campfire to the heroic epics we see on the big screen, we play out this great adventure of our lives over and over again.
This pattern of human existence plays out in the conflicts in our society. Because our hearts are divided our society is also divided. When we accept this reality we realize how important it is to continue the fight. Discouragement, is a tool of the devil.
The devil preys upon our fallen nature as he did so long ago at the beginning of all things. It is our fallen nature that leads us to think we will never be good enough, we will never “win,” so what is the point in trying? But our heavenly nature, full of God given grace, transforms us into warriors for the Kingdom with the knowledge that the prize we fight for is our immortal soul.
As long as we live on this earth we will be faced with temptations, trials and obstacles. Temptations tempt us to discouragement and weariness, but when we overcome trials and obstacles we emerge invigorated and stronger, ready to take up the fight anew. We continue to fight because that is what we do. Just as a gardener continues to garden in spite of weeds, pests, and the never ending labor of nurturing the garden. This is how God designed things. To become discouraged in the war we are here to wage is to display a lack of trust in God's wisdom.
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Read more at www.DeaconLawrence.org
© Lawrence Klimecki
Purchase fine art prints by Deacon Lawrence here.
Deacon Lawrence draws on ancient Christian tradition to create new contemporary art that seeks to connect the physical and the spiritual.. For more information on original art, prints and commissions, Please visit www.DeaconLawrence.org
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith