The Choice

He dragged it the final few feet, muscles straining, sweat beading his body like he'd been in the sauna.

With great effort he heaved it up and onto the slab where it slithered like jello until it was finally still. Breathing hard, he lifted his eyes and his hands to the sky. "There. It's done. It's all yours. I'm through with it."

He turned to go, feeling lighter than he'd felt in years. Everyone said it was so hard, but this was the best investment of energy he'd ever spent. For years it had strangled him, weighing him down, keeping him light-years from the only source of Power he cared about.

But now it was done. Finished. Once and for all. He'd never have to worry about it again.

He started down the path, whistling under his breath. Oh, it felt so good to be free! Free at last!

The path down the mountain split like a Y.

He stopped to consider. From which way had he come? It all looked the same from this direction. To the right, heavy undergrowth choked a dense forest, deep with shade. To the left, sun dappled a wide open path.

A faded sign was tacked to a tree. The paint was peeling, but there appeared to be an arrow on it and he squinted to make out the words.

The sign seemed to indicate the path to the right, but as he squatted to peer through the thicket, he frowned. Surely not. He hadn't remembered all that tangled undergrowth. Practically a jungle. He'd need a machete to get through it. Nothing but cold, uninviting brambles. And...was that a drop-off?

The path to the left was sunny and clear. A robin hopped across the stones and in the distance he could hear a babbling stream. He glanced at the sign again, then shook his head. Couldn't be accurate. The sign must've been twisted in a big wind. Surely the best path would never be that complicated. Supper was waiting, there was a ball game on tonight, and he'd never liked forests anyway.

He turned to the left and stepped into the sunshine, but his legs felt suddenly heavy. With each step, it felt as though he was dragging his own weight.

It was not until he made it to the bottom of the mountain that he realized the very Flesh he had offered on the altar was once again firmly entwined with his body, sucking the life from him like a man-sized leech.

What happened? He'd thought it gone for good.

He eased the slimy fingers from his throat and peered back up the mountainside. The stones from his homemade altar caught the sunlight and flashed like a beacon.

This had to be done every day, didn't it? Every moment. Crucifying the Flesh was a lifestyle, not an event. A continuous series of choices until the Spirit ruled completely. Somebody had told him that once, but he hadn't believed it.

Come to think of it, hadn't the Apostle Paul said the same thing?

The weight around his heart grew heavier. The icy fingers clutched his neck, his chest, making it hard to breathe. Funny how he'd once been used to living this way, but now found it intolerable. Never again. He'd never go back.

With a determined sigh, he started up the mountain.


18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Rom.6)

For the mind set on the flesh
is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God's law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those who live according to the flesh are unable to please God. (Rom. 8)


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