Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kris Lundgaard 'The Enemy Within' (II)

Excitingly, Chris Watson-Lee has promised me a brief summary / outline of this excellent book, which I hope to be able to point readers to at some point shortly. Still, I'm going to persevere (it being a good biblical characteristic). Remember, I'm really doing this for my own benefit!

The Haunted House
A haunted house is scary because of what it hides. Our heart is just like a haunted house, having many many cubby-holes, wardrobes, cupboards, corners, attics and shadows. It is a maze that God alone can search and solve and is deceitful above all things (
Jer 17:9-10). Remember (the standard Puritan Reformed faculty psychology) that heart = mind (thoughts & plans & judgements) + will (choices & actions) + affections (longings, desires, feelings). All of this is a horror-house.

Now each Christian has a new heart, a new mind and new desires. Yet God's certain work is as yet incomplete - and we must fight a lurking, skulking enemy, hiding where it can't be found. Just like trick birthday-cake candles, having been blown-out once, sin can quickly and easily burst into new flame.

We must never think the battle is over in this life. There is no cease-fire, and many wars have been lost in forgetful relaxation after apparently decisive battles. If we fight, we will win ground, growing in victory - but that battle-work only ends when we meet Christ face to face.

And we go into battle (or resume battle) in the Lord's strength. The Holy Spirit knows our hearts, and takes the horror out of the haunted house's hidden depths (Ps 139).

Irreconcilable Differences
'It is impossible to make peace with hostility itself' (44). The flesh is not God's enemy, it is hatred of God, it is enmity towards God, it is hatred itself. And you can't every be at peace with hatred towards God. God has transformed all who are in Christ into new creations - but the flesh remains, as we retain our human natures until the transformation at death.

'The flesh's hatred of God explains a lot... You can feel the hostility of the flesh whenever you approach God - it makes love for him into work. Digging around the Bible to find a juicy new insight to impress your small group is like sailing the Caribbean, but poring over the Scriptures to find the Lover of your soul is like skiing up Mount Everest. Conjuring up a happy mood with some music you don't even know the words to is like solving 2 + 2 with a calculator. But savouring the glory of Christ and his tender love until your heart is softened towards him is like using mental math to calculate pi to the thousandth place. And giving a birthday present to your best friend is like forcing down double-fudge brownies. but giving up your extra bedroom to a homeless person in the name of Jesus is like eating the Rockies for breakfast.' (46-7)

There is no common ground between the flesh and God. There is no no-man's land, no place to pause or find rest this side of Glory. Our 'affections are constantly fighting the infection of sensuality or the disease of indifference.' (48)

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