As a young Bible College student, I firmly held to the teaching that claimed believers possessed two natures (i.e., the old nature and the new nature). It made a lot of sense to me regarding my own experiences, for I was "on fire for Christ" one day and yet "worldly" the next. We often quoted from Romans 7, the premier Biblical passage seeming to support the viewpoint. Being an eager-beaver Bible-scholar wannabe, I began to develop an easy-find system using small hand-written sketches. For the Romans 7 passage, I drew a little stick man picture of two boxers duking it out. I had assumed I would find numerous other fitting passages for my handy little illustration, but I only added it one more place in Galatians. Alas, the "Minker Illustrated Biblical Organizational System" fizzled out before it got off the ground. :)
Somewhere along the way, the diagram of those two boxing men in the margin of my Bible began mocking me. For my own personal defeats only underscored the inevitability of the lopsided battle I had engaged in. A more suitable illustration might have shown one guy stomping the other. Despite my attempts to feed and nurture my new nature, there was no victory described in that passage. My own failure to gain the upper hand forced me to see what had been clearly written:
I don't understand what I am doing. For I don't do what I want to do, but instead do what I hate. (Romans 7:15 ISV)
I discovered absolutely no suggestion that feeding my new nature could somehow change this defeat into victory. What it really told me was that the battle as viewed according to appearances is bogus. I came to recognize that Paul had not recorded the process by which I was to overcome sin in my life, but that he had described how reality broke through in the midst of the mind of insanity that has been stimulated by law.
However, in the midst of the bogus struggle, the life of God in the inner man shows himself for who he is. It is here where I have looked, only to see who I am no longer. It is a shocking revelation, for it took everything I had assumed about myself and revealed it to not be me. I live where I am, for I live in Christ.