Devotion #13: Finding a Better Way (Carlisle’s story pt. 2)

“When [Carlisle] knew what he had become,” Edward said quietly, “he rebelled against it. He tried to destroy himself. But that’s not easily done.”
“How?” I didn’t mean to say it aloud, but the word broke through my shock.
“He jumped from great heights,” Edward told me, his voice impassive. “He tried to drown himself in the ocean…but he was young to the new life, and very strong. It is amazing that he was able to resist…feeding…while he was still so new. The instinct is more powerful then, it takes over everything. But he was so repelled by himself that he had the strength to try to kill himself with starvation.”[…]
“So he grew very hungry, and eventually weak. He strayed as far as he could from the human populace, recognizing that his willpower was weakening, too. For months he wandered by night, seeking the loneliest places, loathing himself.
“One night a herd of deer passed his hiding place. He was so wild with thirst that he attacked without a thought. His strength returned and he realized there was an alternative to being the vile monster he feared. Had he not eaten venison in his former life? Over the next months his new philosophy was born. He could exist without being a demon. He found himself again.
“He began to make better use of his time. He’d always been intelligent, eager to learn. Now he had unlimited time before him. He studied by night, planned by day.[…]”
“Carlisle swam to France, and continued on through Europe, to the universities there. By night he studied music, science, medicine,—and found his calling, his penance, in that, in saving human lives.” His expression became awed, almost reverent. “I can’t adequately describe the struggle; it took Carlisle two centuries of torturous effort to perfect his self-control. Now he is all but immune to the scent of human blood, and he is able to do the work he loves without agony….”
Twilight – Chapter 15.

Whooever is born of God overcomes the world. It is our faith that gives us victory to overcome the world (1 John 5:4). This is the world outside, and the leprosy of the world that is within, which is sin.

Carlisle’s story is so meaningful. This is an excellent illustration of how we, as humans live without Christ, without grace. We know what is right, but to keep ourselves from sin without Christ is impossible in the long-term.
Even with his incredible self-control, well-rooted in love and compassion as it was, could not keep Carlisle from taking a human life indefinitely. Had not the herd of deer come across his path at exactly the right time, he may not have found his alternative until it was too late…
It is said that we are never tested beyond what we can bear, but that when we are tempted, a way out will be prepared for us (1 Cor. 10:13). Carlisle leapt upon that way out, and went on to become a light, an evangelist of the “more excellent way” to other vampires.
In the Old Testament, blood sacrifice was required to atone (cover over) the sins of the people and keep fellowship with God, granting eternal life. It was the way of the law. But when Christ came and died, shedding blood for the cleansing [removal] of sin for all humankind, it was a better way.

A good closing remark could be Hebrews 10:19-25:

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

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~ by sarahthebaker on December 9, 2009.

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