I have been very weary of fighting and although giving up is not an option, there are many temptations to do so. I know that there will always be pain/struggle/strife in this life as long as I desire to love GOD with all my heart, soul, and mind [Deut 6:4-5]. However I also know that pain will always be accompanied with joy, “mourning yet always rejoicing” [2 Cor 6:10]. There are seasons when one or the other will be stronger, but I don’t believe there are seasons without one or the other, and I am by God’s grace coming out of season where my joy was stifled and the cascading effects on my relationship with God were just down right ugly. Normal tasks and opportunities to serve, became burdensome and opportunities where entitlement and grumbling bubbled in my heart. God forgive me, that is not the life You created me to live in Christ, to show Your worth and glory.
So I am taking Ephesians 6:13 to heart where Paul instructs us …”having done ALL, stand firm”… and by God’s grace working in the body of believers walking beside me helping me work through this darkness, as they point me to Christ who alone has the power to pierce the darkness. As well as prepare me to fight the good fight with greater resolve to abide in Christ, and not to be distracted by the pain and the weariness of the fight, which is nothing more than falling to the schemes of the devil, as well as cultivating pride in the ever so popular yet insidious form of self-pity.
That is the beauty of God and the life He has called and prepared for us in Christ, though life be unraveling at the seams through a variety of strange discouraging circumstances we are to stand firm in Christ, for He is our strength and joy [Hab 3:17-20]. We are not just to be existing or surviving, but flourishing in joy with the abundant life that is in Christ! This is where I have been the last 4 weeks, existing, or even worse wallowing in weariness, digging deeper the pit of pride, leaving me in a black shroud of self-focus. Being caught in the foolish trap of quicksand, where the more you struggle, the deeper you go. You do this until God brings you to the point where you are doubled over in complete bankruptcy and cry mercy realizing that the place you are in, is impossible to get out of by human strength, but totally possible for God [Matt 19:26].
Conquerors don’t wallow in defeat, much less those who overwhelmingly conquer in Christ [Rom 8:37]. That is the life and witness that causes an unbelieving world, to internally drop their jaws and ask you what is the cause of the hope that is inside you [1 Peter 3:15]. That is the beautiful example that Christ left us, …for the JOY set before Him, He endured the cross, that we may not grow weary [Heb 12:2-3]!! So amazing that we are able, by abiding in Christ, bring Christ’s sufferings to our neighbors and coworkers, by enduring with a divine joy and peace the sufferings that have been prescribed to us by a loving Father, not a heartless Judge, with the purpose to magnify the KING of kings, the great Redeemer and the coming glory that we wait patiently for.
God is good, and His wisdom surpasses me 1000 times over, but at the end of the day regardless if my mind can comprehend the complexity and totality of His amazing plan for my life, He is working all things out for my eternal good [Rom 8:28]. He is my Surgeon, who accurately and intentionally executes each stroke of His knife for my good, to conform me to the image of Christ thus drawing me deeper into His love, pain is just a subsequent variable, that is totally necessary as it gives me the tangible reality of the restoration that is needed for every human being. As natural as it is to abhor physical pain, for the Christian, that should be the physical reminder for us, of the spiritual abhorrence that we should have of sin.
Christ snapped off the two fangs, (sin and death), of the serpent 2000 years ago, leaving in His wake, a refuge of no condemnation [Rom 8:1] for those who have turned and trusted in Christ. There are no deadly bites from the devil, for anyone to whom God has placed into Christ and the victory HE had at Calvary. The enemy may gum us all that he wants, and it may be very painful (make no mistake about that, remember Job), but there is absolutely nothing he can do to deliver that deadly strike that separates us from the love of God in Christ.
Life is hard, God is good, and glory is coming!! Having done all stand firm on Christ, in the shadow of His mighty outstretched arms.