Friday, March 13, 2015
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Those of us who lived in the New York area at that time added a frightening new word to our vocabulary. It was called "wilding". In fact, that word was the entire front page headline on one newspaper after this brutal attack in Central Park. A 28-year-old jogger was raped and viciously beaten by this gang of 10 - 15 teenage attackers. Besides an ugly sexual assault, she was beaten with rocks, and a foot long pipe, and then left for dead in a puddle on a 40-degree night.
Those teenage guys who attacked that woman called their wanton rampages "wilding". People across the country were horrified, incensed at this almost animal-like attack. I talked to friends in different parts of the country, and I said, "Did you hear about it?" And they said, "Oh, you bet! It's been on the front page of our newspaper, too." But what baffled the analysts was that some of those teenagers were seemingly typical middle class kids, not the kind you might predict would do this kind of thing. Some had apartments with doormen and security, got A's on their homework, played in the high school band. One New York newspaper said this: "The attack brings us face to face with horror." Well, they got that right. But the horror is much closer to where you and I live than Central Park in New York.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Fighting the Right Battle."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Romans 7. I'll begin reading at verse 15, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do. (Maybe this echoes your own life story. It's a lot of mine here.) What I hate, I do. I know that nothing good lives in me. That is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do. No, the evil I do not want to do, this I keep on doing. But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am. Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
That's a pretty powerful spiritual x-ray here. We're just looking inside somebody's heart. It's a look at the darkness inside every human heart. I remember when Nancy came to me a couple of years ago. She said, "Ron, there's a darkness inside of me that scares me." As I read those statements out of Romans 7, couldn't you relate to it? How often the darkness is there; how often the evil seems to win. I don't want to be like this.
See, it's like there's this animal inside of me...and you. Maybe not on the physical rampage like that night in Central Park, but you know it comes out brutally sometimes in your anger, in your lust, in comments that leave people bleeding as much as that woman in the park was, except they're bleeding inwardly.
The Bible suggests we are all capable of terrible sin. All it takes is the right trigger, the right surroundings, the right anonymity. There's wilding right inside our heart. If you're not scared of the darkness inside, you should be. And once you face the animal inside, you have only one place to go. And the writer of those words, the Apostle Paul, went there. He says, "Who will rescue me?" Here's the answer, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
The wildness that rages secretly in your heart and mine drives us to the cross of Jesus Christ, because there He turned all the fury of that animal inside us on Himself and bore our sin. It's possible to turn His power loose to beat that darkness. Not to dress up on the outside, but to tame that animal on the inside.
No religion can do that. Only the man who died to break the power of that sin can do it. You've got to come to that cross, acknowledge the darkness - the sin inside - and ask to be forgiven and cleansed by the man who died to do that for you. I invite you this day to grasp that wonderful offer of Jesus for yourself; to begin your relationship with the great Forgiver, the great Life-Changer.
If you've never done that, I suggest you go to our website and let me walk you through there how to get that relationship started. Would you go to ANewStory.com? As you daily aim the power of Jesus at your sinfulness, you'll discover what a liberator He is, because Jesus Christ tames the wilding inside.