How to Survive the Horror Movie of Your Heart

Horror MovieOver the years, movie aficionados have compiled lists of “How to Survive a Horror Movie.” Some common rules are:

  • Never say, “I’ll be right back,” because you won’t ever come back.
  • Never say, “Who’s there?” because you really don’t want to know.
  • Never say, “I think we’re finally safe,” because you aren’t.

And whatever you do, never, under any circumstances, ever assume the killer is dead. One bullet, stabbing or fire will not finish them off. Cut off their head and kick it at least ten feet from the body. Then burn the remains and scatter the ashes in at least five different cities – unless, of course, you have the ability to rocket them into outer space.

Because if there is one thing horror movies have taught us, it is that the killers never stay dead. They keep coming back over and over again – sequel after sequel.

Each one of us has a monster – an evil, psycho murderer – living inside of us. No, you aren’t the title character in an upcoming horror film.

You are a sinner.

The Bible calls the monster our “flesh.” Theologians call it our “Old Adam.” You and I were born under the control of a selfish psycho hiding in our hearts. In fact, that monster is who we are at birth. Sure we may look cute and cuddly, but sin and selfishness fill our hearts (Psalm 51:5).

Then God steps in. Through his Word and the waters of Holy Baptism, the Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts – faith which trusts in God’s promises and wants to live for him. A new man or woman is born who loves God and clings to the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross.

On that day, the battle begins. A war wages within the heart of every Christian. Cartoons depict that war as an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other whispering in your ear. Yet this is no joke. This is a life and death struggle.

Sadly, we don’t always consider the monster in us to be the enemy. A part of you wants to be angry. A part of you enjoys those dirty desires. A part of you doesn’t think sin is so dangerous.

Yet every time we give in to our selfish desires and yearnings, the weaker we become. We are numbed to the guilt and shame. The monster tears away pieces of our heart until the new man or woman is no more.

Yes, Jesus died for your sins. Yes, God forgives you no matter how bad or how often you mess up, but sin is still dangerous. Sin chips away at saving faith. When we give in to the selfish monster in our hearts, it grows more powerful and more dangerous.

That’s why we need to feed our new man or woman every day with God’s Word. That’s why we need to kill the monster within us by daily repenting of our anger and lust and pride. We need to do so daily because the monster always comes back. Just when you think you finally have him defeated – when you think you are safe and secure in your faith – the monster once again rears his ugly head.

The reformer, Martin Luther, once explained what our baptisms should mean for our daily lives. This is what he said:

“Baptism means that the sinful nature in us should drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death. It also means that a new person should daily arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

This side of heaven, you will never be completely free of that monster in your heart. Don’t be like the naïve teenagers of a horror movie who say, “I think we’re safe now.” Be on your guard. Every day cut off the monster’s head with the sword of God’s Word. Drown him with daily sorrow and repentance.

Be constantly on guard because the monster always comes back.

 

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