Once there was a warrior. He was a mostly good warrior (or so he thought)…he tried to be kind to his fellow countrymen, he fought bravely. He had a good reputation with everyone as one of the best warriors in the land, defending the land from enemies from every side. Defeating them with a resounding blow and keeping the land safe for all. He even had the respect of even the most war-hardened men who fought beside him, for he was brave, strong, and true.
One day the village was beset by a new kind of enemy. This was no enemy like they had ever seen before. This was not another wave of brave men in shiny armor sent by a greedy king to procure more land. No, this was something altogether different.
At first, it was hard to see exactly what was coming against them. It came in a blazing fire which left everything around it scorched and barren. But finally some who dared to come within range began to see some of what attacked them. It was massive, bigger than anything they had ever seen. It was leathery and seemed to have some type of scales. The eyes were massive and red. And its mouth, full of razor-sharp teeth, dripped scalding fluid and breathed out fire.
Finally they realized…it was something they had all heard rumors of but never had seen…a dragon. No one had ever dreamed they would see one. No one had ever imagined it would be this massive. No one knew what to do.
The brave warrior and all of his fellow warriors donned their finest armor. The sharpened their swords and readied their weapons for battle. And they left their women and children and they went to meet the beast.
The warrior was once again brave. He fought long and hard but bit by bit he realized he was losing the battle. He was strong but the beast just keep on coming. Oh, it would back up sometimes, and even seem to leave, but it would just come right back again.
It sometimes seemed to the warrior that the harder he fought, the less ground he gained. And sometimes he just wanted to quit fighting all together. Maybe just give in to the dragon and be slain. Or maybe just to join the dragon’s side. Or maybe…better yet…just walk away, go somewhere safe, and just forget about the dragon, the village, everything.
Just when the warrior thought he could fight no more, when he was at his absolute end, he remembered….
There was one that he knew of, one, that in his battles and day to day live he had forgotten about. He was there, the one. Still in the room in the heart of the castle where he was kept by the village. Secured away. The village knew he was special, the one, but they also knew that if they let him out he would not be denied. He would change everything about the life they lived in the village. And that scared the villagers so they put him in the castle room.
Oh, they would visit with him for the one was kind and gentle. But just a moment with him and they could see, and even feel, the power that the one had just below the surface.
Once the warrior remembered the one in the heart of the castle, he knew what he must do. He had to go get the one…to ask him to come. Somehow the warrior knew he was the one who could save them all.
The warrior fought his way to the castle and raced up the steps. He grabbed the key and flung open the door to the room at the heart of the castle. And rushing in, he bowed before the one in the room, the one calmly and patiently waiting for him, and begged him to come defeat the dragon.
The one in the room stood immediately. He asked the warrior why he had waited so long to come and get him. He asked the warrior why no one remembered his promise to them…that he would always be there for them, their help for every trouble. The one was sad that they had only remembered him in their deepest, darkest moment…but also glad that they had remembered him in their deepest, darkest moment.
He stood…opened his mouth and spoke one word…and the dragon was no more.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about sin. Specifically, my sin…but also about everyone else’s sin as well. What has really been on my mind is the struggle that goes on between our flesh and our spirit.
I think about the line in the song…”Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the one I love.” What that tells me is that I am not the only one who feels this struggle intensely sometimes.
Read Paul and you definitely see that he constantly felt the tension of this struggle in his life:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” Romans 7:15
“ For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:17
Just like the warrior, I too am a warrior. I war day and night against my flesh. The flesh that the dragon controls…the flesh that used to control me. It doesn’t control me anymore but sometimes that is hard to see. Sometimes it seems like it still does. But I fight it…struggling in my own power. And like the warrior, I grow weary. I want to give up.
Isn’t it sad that I let it get to that point? Why don’t I go to the One? The One patiently waiting for me in my heart? Waiting for me to asked him to come and slay the beast that is my flesh…
Why do I insist on fighting the battle between flesh and spirit on my own. Christ has lovingly and patiently told me time again through His word that He will save me from my sin, He will make me holy.
For again Paul says in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” And he answers in verse 25, “I thank God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
I am not skilled to understand. What God has willed, what God has planned. I only know at His right hand, stands One who is my Savior.
I take Him at His word and deed: Christ died to save me this I read. And in my heart I find a need, for Him to be my Savior.
That He would leave His place on high, and come for sinful man to die. You count it strange, so once did I, before I knew my Savior.
Yes, living, dying; let me bring my strength, my solace from this Spring. That He who lives to be my King, once died to be my Savior.
My Savior, My God