I was reading a few pages from Letters from a Skeptic, and I was just shaking my head when the father points out that Christianity has done so much harm. If nonbelievers (or as a friend calls them, pre-believers) could only understand the absolute struggle that is the Christian life. There is a ton of joy and wonder, don’t get me wrong, but there are definitely struggles. And the Holy Spirit most definitely gives me tremendous joy, because He bears witness that I am a child of God (Romans 8:15-16) and He is just really awesome…
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:17)
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:16)
I actually have a lot more mercy for the church now, I have a better understanding of how the flesh and the devil destroy churches and affect fellowship. It’s sad. It’s frustrating. I’m part of the problem, and I’m part of the wounded and disappointed. I’ve left unsaid things I should have said, and I’ve said things that should have been left unsaid.
Three things affect how effectively we serve Him and witness to others– the world, the flesh, the devil. It’s insanity. It’s chaos. I’ve found that I need to continually yield, I need to submit to the Holy Spirit. I can only do things for God by keeping Christ first. I can’t do things by my own strength– I get torn up. If I already experience getting torn up by allowing myself to be Spirit led, I can’t imagine how torn up I’d get up by not submitting to the Holy Spirit as often as I try to do so. But I am kind of grateful for God letting me get torn up, otherwise I’d be prouder than I already am. And that pride is deadly, because God loves the humble. He loves the child-like. In me getting torn up, I’m able to be kept more meek, and able to enjoy Him more.
I’m really excited to see the sanctification that I’ve seen. But it’s also kind of scary to see that never have I struggled so much with the pull of the world than as a Christian… I really like clothes, jewelry, approval of man. I think for the most part, I enjoy these things in their proper context, after God, but they still call out to me. But I am better able to enjoy these things when I enjoy God first and put these things second.
Jesus can’t just be lord of my heart… He is Lord of my life.
LOL and then I also have to contend with awkwardness and fears and being cranky about 15-20% of the time, or 65% of the time when it’s shark week.
In Christ alone, my hope is found.