And one of the villains who has been laid down in that war is all of the worst things inside of yourself.
We’re preaching through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-7) as a church right now, and one of the things that Jesus does for me as I read it and think about it and pray through it is to reveal to me how many wicked things there are inside of my heart. In the corners, under the floorboards, stuck up in the attic, in all sorts of hidden spaces within my heart are some disgusting things. And He knows about them.
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Jesus knows how wicked I can be. He knows. My greedy motives and petty, little grudges and pretentious, false religiosity are all before Him.
The wickedness in my flesh and soul do not surprise or perplex Jesus.
And He says that as I am conformed more and more to Him, as I’m made more and more teleos (Matthew 5:48; “perfect” or “complete” or “mature,” e.g., 2 Timothy 3:16), as I am grown as a Christian by grace through faith, those sick and awful pieces of myself are getting laid low.
There is hope for the Christian. There is hope for me. I am a territory being conquered by a good King. My heart is a battlefield, and I myself am a soldier on the right side.
This war will end someday, and all the veterans like me will stand in the light of our Sovereign, with bodies and souls that will be big enough and clean enough to enjoy Him to the fullest.