We can be certain that there will be thousands of deaths that must take place for a follower of Jesus. And yet unfortunately, for most of us, those deaths will often be accompanied by a resurrection! Just when we think we’ve wrestled a bad habit or ill virtue into the grave, poof – it reappears once more. Those bad habits or ill virtues are once again amongst us – the curse of the zombie. The novel thing here is that the zombie is me! That’s my old man, my old nature breaking out to run amok with its own frat-boy campaign of self-centered ruin.
Hear the Apostle Paul’s angst as he writes about this own struggle with the undead: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. ~Romans 7:15-20
Anybody relate to that?
In other places Paul will tell us that the old man is dead. He tells us this more as a legal reality than as a consistently observable truth. It is, again according to Paul and others, God’s view of us – heaven’s perspective on the believer. We are considered righteous before God because of the virtue of another. It’s a legal pronouncement. It is up to us to live up to that declaration – to claim our inheritance as it were.
This battle of putting down the old nature will last a lifetime. We will enter heaven unfinished. Such progress we make will necessarily be measured against the one whom we follow. But to keep at it is the thing. To remain steadfast in ordering the zombies back to their grave is part of our daily bread. The repetitious effort will keep us humble on the way and humble has a powerful and deleterious effect on zombies.