In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, there is a beautiful, white statue called “The Struggle Between the Two Natures” by George Gray Barnard. It depicts two identical male figures. One figure is lying on the ground, while the other stands over him with one foot on his thigh and the other foot on his neck. They look like wrestlers, with every muscle clearly visible. The statue portrays the perennial struggle which takes place between our natural instinct for physical survival and our spirit. Which one is victorious? The sculptor, instead of labeling the two figures, leaves it to the judgment of the viewer. Sometimes the physical symbol triumphs, and sometimes the spirit emerges the victor. It is not the sculptor’s task to render the final decision. He merely depicts the struggle between seemingly irreconcilable forces. 1
In Philippians 3:8, Paul explains that when he trusted Christ as his Savior, he “suffered the loss of all things.” He uses a business term meaning “to punish by exacting a forfeit.” Actually, it should be rendered, “I have been caused to forfeit.” He is saying that he forfeited all that he counted dear. That meant crucifixion of self, and self dies hard. 2
Andrew Murray stated, “Remember and study what Jesus says about denying self, ‘Let a man deny himself.’ Tersteegen says, ‘The saints deny themselves in everything.’ Pleasing self in little things may be strengthening it to assert itself in greater things.” 3
© 2016 D & L Publications
- Morris Mandel, A Complete Treasury of Stories for Public Speakers, Jonathan David Publishers, Middle Village, NY, 11379, Copyright 1974, pp. 188 – 189
- Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies From the Greek New Testament, Volume Three, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, 49502, “Bypaths in the Greek New Testament,” pp. 46 – 47.
- Rev. Andrew Murray, Waiting on God! Daily Messages for a Month, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1958 Edition (Fleming H. Revell Co., NY, 1894, p. 147), and https://books.google.com/books?id=DvtDAAAAYAAJ