Have you got something in your life that you take ownership of – it’s yours and you can’t imagine giving it away or handing it over? Does the thought of losing something precious to you fill you with dread? How about trying to break a habit that you just can’t seem to stop?
I’ve been there.
I still wrestle with it.
For a long time there was something in my life – a secret – that I battled with on a regular basis. It was a battlefield in my mind. I would turn to God and cry out for help. I have experienced the forgiveness found in Jesus and the gentleness of His restoring, life-giving truth.
Yet, I confess it and then do the same again.
I think no one sums it up greater than the apostle Paul:
‘For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.’ Romans 7:15:20 ESV
The paraphrase found in The Message translation speaks of it clearly too:
14-16 I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary.
17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. Romans 7:15-20 MSG
What I have come to realise from years of wrestling, is that I can continue to come to God with it in prayer. He delights in me that I seek Him continually for help. Where else could I go? What or who else could satisfy the brokenness and struggles that I encounter?
However, something that I have found that has helped me is exposing it for what it is. When it’s out there it has been brought to the light. It is no longer a secret, hidden in my heart in the darkness.
With someone that I trust, I can be honest, accountable and have someone pray for me and walk the road beside me. It could be a close friend, a mentor or maybe a spouse. For me, I ended up pouring my heart out to someone I barely knew from a Christian organisation – she prayed for me there and then. She was impartial, but helpful and most importantly, prayerful. I also made the decision to share my struggles in confidence with a woman from my church and we now have more of an opportunity to see how the other is doing. I’m never alone because the Lord watches over me and knows exactly who I need in my life to encourage me.
I am thankful that I am experiencing a real victory at the moment. Changes in my mind, heart and spirit have really been noticeable in my daily life. It’s a living God that I serve, where change is possible because God transforms the heart and mind – I know that there is freedom in a God who freed us from sin and death.
God can be trusted. He understands the struggles, temptations and emotions we face on a regular basis. I don’t need to list all of the various human frailties here. If you’re reading this, you’re human – you know what you struggle with.
You may be a Christian and will know the freedom found in knowing Christ as the only one who can take away the sin from our lives and transform us from the inside out. It may get tough and hard to let go. Keep praying and trusting Him. Let another know of the battle you are facing.
You many not be a Christian, but still wrestle with fear, doubts, struggles and worries. You’re human. However, there’s more. You are saved by the cross of Christ. All of the wrong that has been done to you, and all of the stuff you may have done to others, it’s all been dealt with by Christ’s sacrifice – he has paid the price and taken your sin away from you. Forgiveness begins with Jesus. Where there was enmity with God, there is now reconciliation, hope and the promise of a new life in him. It starts here on earth, but death is not the end for those who put their hope in God.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV
This is a bit of a scattered blog post – a bit like my scattered brain! My message here is to encourage you to bring what is in the dark in your life to the light, whatever it is. Bring it before God and a couple of trusted individuals. You don’t need to shout it from the rooftops!
Whatever you’re struggling to let go of, it’s not a stronghold in your life. The Lord will bring the change you so desperately seek. It is only by His strength that we can overcome. It’s only by the Spirit of God that we can let go – whatever it is that tries to keep its hold over us.
God is faithful and He won’t let you go whilst your letting whatever it is go.
A favourite quote from Corrie Ten Boom that encapsulates this post nicely:
“Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
Here are some lyrics from another song that encourage me on those more difficult days, taken from the song ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong:
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Saviour