I had a friend. We were close, almost like we were the same person. We shared likes and dislikes, desires, dreams even. Unfortunately I had to break up with this friend. We just were not good for each other. This person kept getting me in trouble. This friend would want to do things that I knew were not good for me, and when I went along, I got in trouble. I would say, “no more.” And then I would do what my friend wanted anyway. Eventually I had to break up with my friend. It was hard. Harder than anyone can imagine. So hard, because, you see, my friend was me.
Sometimes, it seems, we are our own worst enemy. That is because we often recognize external threats, but are not prepared for those that come from within. When Jesus talked about removing the log from your own eye before removing the speck from another’s eye (Matt 7:3-5), he sometimes may have implied that the speck was made of the same stuff as the log. An example would be the man who condemns another for embezzlement while taking home company-purchased office supplies. We see the sin in others, but not in ourselves.
Paul recognized that he could be the biggest threat to himself. He spoke of a war within himself.
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! (Rom 7:21-24)
Fortunately, it is possible to break up with that man. Paul was able to effect such a break up, and so can we. But it can only come because someone else can take that man’s place. They say the worst thing for a gang member to do after relinquishing the lifestyle is to go back home. An alcoholic in recovery is told to avoid the places and situations where he was wont to drink, and even the friends he used to drink with. When a man breaks up with a girlfriend (or vice versa), he avoids those places where he is likely to see her again. So it is when we break up with the man that has gotten into so much trouble. We find a new man, a different man.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. … Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (Rom 6:3-7; 11-12)
A breakup is often viewed as tragic. But when we break up with our old man it is a wonderful thing.