Summary: The Bible says that in the heart of every Christian, there is a nature that points to the bright side and another on the dark side of man. Our goal is that we will not just focus on our strength of character but also improve our weaknesses.
That great Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson published an interesting novel in 1886 entitled, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Many of you probably have read or seen the film about this. We studied this literature when we were in High School.
It is about a London lawyer named Gabriel John Utterson who investigated strange occurrences between his old friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll and the evil Mr. Edward Hyde. In the story, we find Dr. Henry Jekyll battling between the good and the evil within himself and going through a personal struggle between his dual personalities of the good and evil. As much as he can, he tried to repress this evil urges that goes against his moral position in society. To do that, he created a serum or special potion that he injected to himself in an attempt to mask his hidden evil within his identity. Upon receiving the serum, Dr. Jekyll instantly transforms into a mysterious and violent Mr. Hyde.
He did this many times until eventually, as time grows by, the evil Mr. Hyde grows in strength and power that eventually, the good Dr. Jekyll becomes reliant on the potion to remain conscious of his true self. At the end of the story, when the lawyer, Mr. Utterson broke the door to Dr. Jekyll's lab, he found Mr. Hyde's body. Eventually, he killed himself because he cannot take anymore the overpowering struggle of his two conflicting identities.
There are some critics of the story who say that there is no such thing as a dual personality in man, but there is such thing as a dual nature in man. They said that Dr. Jekyll did not create a potion to remove the evil parts of his nature. But he made a potion that allowed him to express his urges without feeling guilty of the consequences of his evil actions. This, they said is his alter ego, his disguise to commit evil in the society.
In one way or another, that is very similar to what the Bible says about the battle of the flesh and the spirit. The Bible says that in the heart of every Christian, there is a nature that points to the bright side and another on the dark side of man. This is also called the sinful human nature and the spiritual nature of man. This sinful human nature prompts us to think, to speak and act with evil intent - which is the Mr. Hyde in us. While the Spiritual nature of man prompts us to think, to speak and act with righteousness and holiness - which is the Dr. Jekyll in us.
In writing to the church in Galatia, the apostle Paul called this the two contrary desires between the flesh and the Spirit. Galatians 5:17 (NIV) "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want." When we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes and resides in our lives to teach us the things of God. However, the sinful human nature that has been there ever since remains intact because we are still living in the flesh. And so, while we are still alive, there is an ongoing conflict in the heart of every one of us that we need to understand as we live daily for Christ.
The Holy Spirit teaches us the bright side of life while the sinful human nature directs us to the dark side of life. The bright side is full of light and godly living, while the dark side is full of darkness and evil intent. We will only be liberated and set free from such sinful nature when we die and be with God forever. But God on the other hand has no such dark side because God is light and in Him, there is no darkness at all. Every thought, every words and every action of God is holy and righteous. That is why we are being admonished to be like God in thought, in speech and in actions. We are being admonished to be nearer God every single day to reflect the bright side of life.
It is this ongoing conflict in man that we will focus as we start our new expository series in the first chapter of the Book of 1 Samuel.
When we know that we have a dark side and a bright side, we will be more careful with our words and actions that we show to people from now on. We will remain humble and teachable because we have failures and weakness that we need to uncover, deal with and improve upon.
Let me give you a brief background of the Book I Samuel.