The following is an extract from our book, Wilderness – How to Marry Jesus in 10 Years or Less. The lesson of the two chicks is an important visual to understand the nature of the battle between ‘self’ and spirit.
The two chicks
For some reason, God was putting us through a season of death; but why? Up to this point in time, our losses had been mostly things, money, and our friendships. God was cutting deeper and deeper into our souls, farther down than we had experienced so far. He was taking away what brought us comfort and what we loved dearly. This was preparation for the death of the ‘self’ nature.
In the wild, a raptor will sometimes lay two eggs in a nest. The first chick to hatch is by right the one the parents will feed and care for. Sometimes, if there is not much food available, the eldest chick may prevent the younger chick from eating; or kill it outright. This is the harsh reality, but also a valuable lesson. Inside of each person, at the very core of their being, is a spirit nature and a sin or ‘self’ nature. These two natures are like the chicks, constantly at war with each other. One must live and one must die; the battle between ‘self and spirit.
Whatever nature gets fed will live, and whatever nature starves will die. Simple.
The nature of 'self'
If we feed our spirit nature our ‘self’ nature withers. If we feed our ‘self’ nature, our spirit withers. Our spirit core reflects the spirit of God with love, peace, gentleness, self-control, etc.; while ‘self’ reflects everything lawless like selfishness, lust, greed, hate, lying, gossip, etc. One has to die. The problem lies in our understanding of ‘self’.
Every person is born with the ‘self’ nature. We erroneously thought ‘self’ was our entire being, and our entire being was ‘self.’ God taught our family that this was not the case. The ‘self’ nature is a distinct part of our being that can be destroyed. This revelation took a long time to grasp.
To our amazement, many times on our journey, it seemed God had given satan the power to crush us; yet we survived. The reality was God had set clear boundaries for satan, just like He did when He put limits on the sea. Job 38:11 “And said, ‘This far you shall come, but no farther; And here your proud waves shall stop’?”
Repentance weakens 'self'
God allows satan to test and purge our ‘self’ nature, by lifting the hedge of protection around us. Job 1:10-12.
Like Job, our enemy had the power to despoil, but he could not consume. Satan’s assaults exposed our ‘self’, so we could repent. Each act of repentance weakened the ‘self’ nature and strengthened the spirit nature; which grew and matured. This is the essence of the battle between ‘self’ and spirit. Therefore God revealed to us this season was about death; the death of our ‘self’ nature.