“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit.” Galatians 5:16-17
The last time I was in Honduras we worked with a family who was temporarily taking care of a two year old named Angel. Angel couldn’t talk yet, but he had no trouble communicating what he wanted to the three older girls in this family who watched over him. There was rarely a big scene over Angel because all he had to do was threaten displeasure and his desires would be instantly met. He ate what he wanted when he wanted it, and slept only when he was in the mood.
I started calling him, “Little Napoleon”, because he was a tyrant over these three girls. One image I clearly remember was Angel listening to music with an ear piece while walking around in circles (nothing on but his diaper) while one of the girls held the CD player and frantically tried to stay up with him so the ear piece wouldn’t come out.
There’s a “little Napoleon” that lives in you and me called the sin nature. It has endless desires and wants to be catered to constantly. It wants to be immediately gratified and complains if there is ever a delay in meeting its needs. The sin nature finds reading the bible, praying, fasting, or going to church boring, and much prefers the instant thrill of the media industry. It doesn’t forgive, but rather uses anger and pouting to get its own way. If the sin nature is denied its way in one thing, it immediately seeks to find comfort in any number of other ways without thought of what’s right and wrong, or of how it might affect those around. It doesn’t like to serve, but lives to be served.
Parents need to decide early that they are in charge, and not their two year old. Have you given notice to your sin nature that it will not run your life? It will submit if you count yourself dead to its power through your identification with Christ’s death and then live by the Spirit through identifying with Christ’s resurrection. (Romans 6:1-14)