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A Divided Self

Written By William A. Kolb

The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
—Matthew 26:41

This bible quote is so modern, so relevant to our world today, even though it was written nearly two thousand years ago.

There are those of us lucky enough to have been brought up in close touch with a sense of what is right and what is wrong (I used to think that included all people, but I have sadly learned otherwise). For us fortunate ones, there is an inner voice that leads us to the right path—a sense of well-being when we are doing what we know is right, and a sense of foreboding or being “away from home” when we are doing what we know is wrong. It is this conscience, or the Holy Spirit, or our training, that keeps us at least knowing what is the right path to take, even if we can’t or don’t always follow it.

What Matthew means by saying that “the flesh is weak” is that our human needs (the need to be loved, the need to feel worthwhile to ourselves and others, the need to live fully into our sexuality—all of which, in and of themselves, are good and natural) often lead us to do or be things that get us into trouble, trouble with our inner self/conscience/Holy Spirit/training.

So what are we to do about this never-ending struggle? Well, when I find my human needs leading me where, at my best, I don’t want to go, that is when I really pray hard. Because it is that "self within," I think, that is actually God within. And God is the only One who can speak to that part of us and strengthen us to follow Him, even as we are in the midst of things that call to our lesser selves with an all-too alluring voice.

Lord God, help me to stay open to you, help me to ask for your help, lead me to healing waters. Amen.

Copyright © 2006 William A. Kolb.