Here it goes: most Christians are entrenched in an unrelenting struggle to walk according to Jesus’ standards, admonition and principles. It’s true! And you know, it’s OK.
Many won’t admit it; but Christianity demands a continual dying of self (your selfish, anti-God desires). Sure there are highs when you feel like you’ve got it all together. But then, reality soon hits. Inevitably, a life test looms and you’re tempted to act…well…ungodly.
If you fail the test (and we all do from time to time), you may begin to question everything you thought you believed in. That’s okay, Godsy Girl, because faith is the cornerstone to your Christian walk. So, don’t panic, just hold on to what God says about you and your situation. He says things like He is forgiving, long-suffering and able to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. That’s His part and He’s astonishingly good at it. Go ahead and take some pressure off.
Roman 6:11 says to “reckon” or consider yourself dead to sin. It doesn’t say you are [actually] dead to it. It simply states that you are to consider yourself to be. Hence, the struggle ensues. Life is life. Periodically, you are going to struggle to obey God’s word. You’ll fight urges to live in ways that displease Him, you’ll shut your mouth when you want to curse them out. You’ll turn down fornication (sex outside marriage) when your body screams to move forward. And you’ll struggle to love those that hate you and treat you wrongly. It’s all a struggle!
Paul Strikes Again
In Romans 7, Paul puts all this in beautiful perspective. He flawlessly illustrates our struggle in one compelling chapter. Read it when you get a chance. You’ll be comforted by his almost “schitzo” explanation of our Christian existence. You’ll see the entwine battle of living two realities (one of born-again believer and the other of flesh-driven sinner). When you read it, you’ll know what I mean. But don’t stop there. The most important thing about Romans 7 is the following chapter – Romans 8.
The eighth chapter reminds you that you are free from condemnation, guilt and oppression. Verse 12 illuminates your understanding even deeper and gives you liberty. It states we have no obligation to the sinful nature-NONE. 1 John3:3 actually says we can purify ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can actually surrender yourself as a sacrifice to God. That surrender makes us slaves to righteousness and not the sinful nature.
If you’re a new Christian, you probably want to know how all this comes to be. How you get this strength and power here on earth. You get it from Him. Bible reading, teaching from a good church and a lifestyle of prayer doesn’t hurt. Now, that’s power and freedom unlimited!
Remember, the Holy Spirit is our strength, guide and Paraclete (walks with you, comforting and advocating). He empowers us with dynamite power so that we can live the Christian life. Struggle-free? I think not. Sin-free? Get real. But if you do sin, you have an advocate and a whole lot of forgiveness; not a license to continue.
So, there God has you covered. Isn’t that just like Him?