An Irreconcilable Conflict
God regenerates us, that is to say, He rekindles in our heart the lamp sin had blown out. The necessary consequence of this regeneration is an irreconcilable conflict between the inner world of our heart and the world outside, and this conflict is ever the more intensified the more the regenerative principle pervades our consciousness. Now, in the Bible, God reveals, to the regenerate, a world of thought, a world of energies, a world of full and beautiful life, which stands in direct opposition to his ordinary world, but which proves to agree in a wonderful way with the new life that has sprung up in his heart. So the regenerate begins to guess the identity of what is stirring in the depth of his own soul, and of what is revealed to him in Scripture, thereby learning both the inanity of the world around him, and the divine reality of the world of the Scriptures, and as soon as this has become a certainty to him, he has personally received the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
- Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism, pgs. 57-58.
I love this quote. It sums up, eloquently, the battle I face daily: the conflict between what I know to be true and the world that I live in.
I wish I had known, when I was younger, that growing up is really more about how you handle your inner conflict than anything else. I'd argue that the reason there is a brand new diagnosis of 'prolonged adolescence' in my generation is because we don't know how to deal with our inner conflict. We, as humans, are impressed with the image of God, yet we live in a world where evil seems to win on a regular basis.
So at a young age we learn that the easiest way to deal with the conflict we feel inside is to do things the way the world does them.
I think the hardest part about being a Christian, which Kuyper aludes to in this quote, is that the more fully we know God the greater this conflict becomes. I believe satan uses this to his advantage. By this I mean, he entices us with a 'conflict-free' life. "Why deal with that inner conflict? Just give into your 'real' desires and enjoy life without that unnecessary conflict."
What really makes me nuts is how often I have that conversation in my head. The justifications I can come up with for doing stupid stuff is frightening.
Thank God that his grace abounds and that he keeps pulling me back into that conflict. I know now that growing up means trusting God to use that conflict to mature me and to show me how I can engage the world in ways that will bring his world of thought and energies and full, beautiful life to others.