The band Skillet is awesome. Of course, they weren’t always awesome. But they are now. I got their first album when it came out back in the 90’s. As soon as I finished listening to it in its entirety (remember when you’d actually listen to a whole album rather than just the top tracks released on iTunes?) I gave it away to an unsuspecting friend. Refused to listen to them again for years. Then I came across their song “Savior” from their album “Collide.” It rocked. I became a fan.
In 2009 they released the single “Monster.” It blew me away. The first lines of the song draw you in
“The secret side of me I never let you see I keep it caged But I can’t control it So stay away from me The beast is ugly I feel the rage And I just can’t hold it.”
The song speaks of the monster within. The monster that desires, scrapes, scrambles, claws, and does all it can to escape from within to wreck havoc upon this world. The thing is, we are monsters.
There is something inside of us that struggles and desires to break out into this world. And sometimes we let it. You see it in road rage incidents, you see it in domestic violence, you see it in muggings, you see it in tax evasion and embezzlement, you see it in little white lies we tell to keep the peace. We have a default setting and that is being a monster.
We don’t like hearing that. We want to say that humanity is good and that there are just some bad apples along the way. We want to say that we’re all blank slates when we’re born and life creates and forms us by our environment as we grow up, and it isn’t the fault of those bad apples but the environment they grew in and through. We want to say that there is good in all of us. Yes, there is some predisposition to certain things, but in the long run, it’s all good, right?
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
This is an oft quoted passage that says otherwise. No, we are not all good. We all have fallen short. We all have not met to what we are called to do.
Jesus gave two simple commandments in the gospels: Love God, love your neighbor. Yet we have a habit of hating God and our neighbor. We don’t like saying it, but it’s true.
The problem with the oft quoted passage from Paul above is that it neglects the words before and after it.
“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are all justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24
Paul goes on to say that Jesus paved the way so that this falling short and sinfulness doesn’t get in the way with our relationship with God.
In short, Jesus keeps that monster at bay.
The song “Monster” goes on
“My secret side I keep Hid under lock and key I keep it caged But I can’t control it Cause if I let him out He’ll tear me up And break me down Why won’t somebody come and save me from this? Make it end!”
There will always be that constant struggle with the monster inside. There is that secret side we keep. We have our hidden sins. We have our hidden struggles. We have our hidden bad habits that block us from God. We hide them from loved ones and we try to hide them from God.
I don’t work.
How do we deal with this monster? Don’t try to keep it caged yourself. Allow it to be tamed by the one sent to tame it.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God…Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:2
Jesus came to not only tame this monster inside us all, but to obliterate it. He has conquered it but it won’t be fully destroyed until he comes again. Until then, we trust in him to tame that monster inside us all trying so hard to clamor out and wreck havoc in our lives and in the lives of others.
Where is this monster in your life trying to escape? Will you allow Jesus to tame this monster in your life? What is stopping your from letting him?