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Augustine’s Bondage to Lust and indecisiveness in Surrender

In Augustine’s  account of his conversion he talked of how he longed to follow Christ but was held by his unwillingness to completely surrender. These are his own quotes as he writes to God confessing his struggle:


“The enemy held me in chains. I was bound by lust, and the service of lust ended in habit, and habit not resisted became necessity. These links forged a chain. A hard bondage that held me in slavery.


But the new will, which had sprung up in me to worship You, and to enjoy You, was not as yet able to overcome my current bondage which had been made strong by long indulgence. Thus two wills, old and new, carnal and spiritual, were in conflict within me. And by their discord, they tore my soul apart.


I came to understand how the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. I lusted both ways. I no longer had my accustomed excuse that I hesitated to forsake the world and serve You because my perception of the truth was uncertain. IT WAS CERTAIN! But bound to the earth, I refused to be your soldier. I was more afraid of being freed from all my sinful entanglements, then I was of being entangled with You.


I was burdened sweetly with the baggage of this world. As one who sleeps, desiring to be awake, but being so overpowered with drowsiness he falls back into deep slumber. I knew it was better for me to give myself up to Your love than to go on yielding myself to my own lusts. Your love satisfied me! My lust pleased, but enslaved me.


I had answer when You called. On all sides You showed me that Your words are true, and I, convicted by the truth had no reply but the drawling and drowsy words, ‘soon, soon. But leave me to sleep a little while longer.’


But soon never came. It might leave me alone a little while. But it went on for a long time. O’ wretched man that I am! Who can save me from this body of death?!?! Except through Your grace alone. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”


“You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until we find our rest… in You.” ~ Augustine

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