There’s a show on SciFy that captures my attention every time I have the chance to see it. It’s called Ghost Hunters. And it’s these two plumbers who decided to found a paranormal activity society in New England. It’s actually gotten huge. They have an international branch too. And what they do is travel around the world, testing to see whether or not specific locations are haunted.
Let me first express the fact that I don’t believe in ghosts. At least, not the kind of ghosts that these people are chasing. I believe in demons. So it’s with something of a morbid curiosity that I watch this show. If the show is real and no part of it is fake, let’s just say that there are some demons out there having a lot of fun with these people, moving chairs, shutting doors, etc.
These Ghost Hunters usually end up going to old houses or hotels or castles, and what they try to do is to determine whether or not the place is full of ghosts. Many times, this group is able to “prove” that a place isn’t actually haunted and what people who live there are hearing is a result of the house settling or other architectural issues (which is honestly why I enjoy the show since they truly take a very logical, rational approach to this unusual topic). However, if they decide the location is full of ghosts, sometimes they have to advise the owners how to proceed. Most of the time, their conversations “with the ghosts” center on what the ghosts want.
This isn’t a very good segue, but in a way, every Christian is something of a Ghost Hunter in that sense. Let me explain my thought process on this one.
Today’s verse is out of Galatians, one of my favorite books of the Bible.
20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.[a] It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Before I decided to believe in Jesus, I only had one side — the dark side. But the moment I chose to follow Christ, God renewed the dead spirit inside me, giving me full access to Him by filling me with His Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, though, that dark side is still there, haunting me. The person I used to be is still hanging around inside, urging me to do things I know are contrary to God’s Word.
I’m ashamed to admit that many times I let my dark nature win. Somedays it’s just easier to give in and be selfish or feel pride or entitlement. Somedays a white lie will fix everything — or so it seems. Somedays it’s easy to lose patience with people who irritate me. It doesn’t matter how wrong it is, that dark side of my heart doesn’t care. And only after I let it happen do I remember that I could have stopped it.
According to this verse out of Galatians, my old self — that dark part of my nature — was crucified with Christ. The person who I used to be is dead. The person who I was has no more power over me than death itself does — except on the days when I give that person power over me by not trusting in Christ.
The fact is, I have to choose every morning who I’m going to believe, who I’m going to trust. I can either trust my dark, dead ghost of a sinful nature that has already been crucified but is still loud enough that I keep listening to it. Or I can trust Jesus who was crucified but still lives.
Personally, I think it’s a good idea to figure out what your old sin nature wants. Once you figure out what it’s telling you to do, you’ll know better how to say no to it. And I need to say no to it. Because nothing that old sin nature wants is good, but no is a term you shouldn’t use in a generic sense. You need to know why you’re saying no.
My old nature is dead. It’s not gone yet, but it’s dead. And it hangs around me like a ghost, screaming in my ears, slamming doors and moving chairs and making racket loud enough that somedays I think it’s easier just to do what it wants me to do. But I don’t have to listen to a ghost. I don’t have to live my life that way. God has given me the strength to choose to do the right thing, to follow His plan.
Living the Christian life is a process, a series of choices. Do I listen? Do I ignore? Do I outright refuse? Why or why not? This morning I have decided that I’m going to trust Christ today and deafen my ears to what my dark nature is telling me to do. In an hour, I will probably make that same decision again. And then, I will probably revisit the decision an hour after that.
In the end, though, I can’t ever be perfect. As long as I’ve got that dark nature hanging around my neck, I won’t ever make it on my own. I’m so thankful, though, that our dark sides won’t last forever. And I am eagerly anticipating the day that Christ comes back for us when the dark side of who I am will fall away and leave me with nothing but my renewed self and the Holy Spirit. Then I won’t have to listen to the ghost of my past self anymore.