Friday, May 15, 2015

Growing Pains

 “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)

He will quiet you with His love...” (Zephaniah 3:17)

Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalms 47:10.)

I'll admit that for a really long time now I have been fretting over what a horrible job I feel like I'm doing at being a Christian. I've been experiencing what I call “growing pains” in my spiritual journey. I have felt like I am at a place in my spiritual journey where God has chosen to challenge what I say I believe in, to see if it holds up under fire. At times it seems like He has been remaining silent to test my faith, to see if, no matter what, I will really choose to trust Him – even when I cannot feel Him. And I feel like I am being crushed under the weight of it all. There are moments I say, “Yes, Lord, I trust you even in the darkness.” But there are more moments where I cry out in this darkness, sometimes in pain and sometimes in anger – “God, where are you? God, I can't do this. God, my faith is not strong enough.”
Sometimes I think, how can I continue on this path of fighting sin and keeping in step with the Spirit for another 50+ years?

The old attacks on my sufficiency are louder than ever, and this time they come from my own mouth and not from the Enemy.
You are not strong enough to resist sin. You are not holy enough to be in the presence of God. Your faith is not strong enough to endure a real life of struggles, pain, and disappointment. You do not have enough joy to display God's value. You do not have enough compassion, you do not show enough grace, you do not give enough love.
Enough, enough, enough! Satan need not bother himself with trying to break me down because I am working on doing that all by myself.
When did being a Christian mean that you had to do enough or have enough to be enough?

When I chose you, I did not have this in mind for you. I did not plan for you to be overcome by guilt and weighed down by sin and crushed by life.”

Then what did you plan for me, Lord?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” {Jeremiah 29:11-13}

I ache with the pain that sin brings into my life. Paul tells me in the book of Romans that I am no longer a slave to sin, but I still have phantom feelings of the weight of sin's shackles. My sinful self has been crucified with Christ and I am now a new creation, but death still breathes down my neck. Day after day, moment after moment, I come face to face with choices of obeying Christ or following my sinful desires. More often than not I choose to follow my sinful desires. How can I call myself a Christian or a disciple of Christ when sometimes I barely look like Him and choose not to follow Him? Wretched woman that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Though I am weak, He is my strength. Though I am unrighteous, He is my righteousness. Though I fall into despair, He is my hope. Though I am powerless, He is all-powerful. Though there is nothing I can do in my sin, He has done everything through His grace.

I want to encourage those of you who are in the same battle that I am against sin. Though we feel like we are losing the battle, Christ has already won it. Be still and know that He is God. The God who loves you, who has redeemed you, who is perfecting you, and who is sanctifying you. You cannot do anything in your own strength or power. It is not by might, nor by power...but by the Spirit of God that you are being sanctified and being made into the image of His Son. You need only to be silent, the Lord will fight for you. 

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