I am a sinner! James reminds us, “we all stumble in many ways.” I have stumbled and stumbled in many ways. I am worthy of condemnation. I have no claim to warrant salvation. On my own I deserve eternal damnation. But I believe I will escape, where others will not. I believe! That is the key. God has provided an escape route. Jesus says, “I am the way.” I believe; I have staked my life on that; I preach that message. Believe! Repent! Choose God! Choose Jesus! But it is more than lip-service; it is life changing. No longer do I live by my will, but by the will of God. I admit that I struggle and often I fall short, but to serve God is my goal. I deserve condemnation, but I will receive eternal salvation. I wish others would listen and be saved. Will you? This is Just-A-Minute
UPDATE: This was intended for Forthright Mag and has now been posted there. I plead jetlag.
The struggle between spirit and flesh is great, Father of lights, between self-will and your purpose, for it caused drops of sweat as blood on the brow of my Savior.
The battle seems most fierce at the end, as it was for him.
The moment of truth, in the dark, alone.
Alone but for the dew from heaven upon the ground, but for your ear to welcome a plea for delivery and a choice to follow your will.
Raise me up, Lord, from the soil of pain and turmoil, that I may go steadily to suffer for your name.
Because that is the way my Savior went.
Throughout the history of man, the individual man has had to contend with authority. He submits to his own authority or to someone else’s. This struggle for man’s mind (heart) is the great battle ground between the forces of evil (Satan) and the Lord God. This is very well illustrated (described) for us in Job, chapters 1 and 2. Who will win?
Balaam confessed, and he confessed the same problem that plagues people today. “I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me” (22:34). Exactly the problem today – all because of: 1) there is no knowledge of the Lord, 2) even if there is knowledge, one’s desire to gain something is strong enough that the Lord’s way if set to the side. In this struggle over one’s desire to love and serve the Lord with the wealth of this world, spiritual blindness and powerlessness is exposed.
The battle ground between two opposite forces is our heart. It is a struggle that each person has to engage in – there is no choice. To determine one’s loyalty a decision has to be made. Will that loyalty be to the Lord or to what attracts the eyes and ears of a person? It is as simple as that.
Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important…They do not mean to do harm…They are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.
T.S. Eliot, Anglo-American poet (1888-1965)
There’s no question that I would keep the struggles I presently have, because acquiring a different set would most likely result in a worse case scenario. The grass always looks greener on the other side until you get there. 🙂
The other day I was talking with a local man who has been coming to my office frequently. His desire was simply for me to help him think through a process of stress that he was experiencing in a current situation with the local board commissioners. Part of the process we shared was in wondering why people do what they do? Many answers to this (of course), but a general one that I suggested to him is along this line:
Each person in life struggles with one or more things, be they moral dilemmas, financial hardships, poor choices of one sort or another, or the evil workings of others that affect the innocent. Whatever it is, we all have “plagues of the heart.”
How do we handle the particular “plagues” that affect them? Some struggle to find a moral compass, some use people, events, things to cover up and hide from others their failings. Those who struggle to find their moral compass actually look to (and for) a leader that seems to have one. Sometimes the one they look at is the one who is covering up (unbeknown to them). Some put their sails to the wind and are blown about to and fro; they feel as if they have tried and tried and just can’t seem to get their individual lives on the track they need (and desire) to be on. In essence, they give up.
Have you ever had a person like any of the above come your way? Each one of these kinds of people has a façade, a covering that is protective of their inner most being – this is something very normal. When one comes along and removes that façade, vulnerability is exposed and the response to that exposure varies by the person when it is.
Two notable people in Scripture had their façade removed. David was confronted by Nathan, and those who had no interest in a woman had her façade removed as well – the woman caught in adultery. The evil religious leaders brought her (not him) to Jesus for one reason, she was a pawn to expose Jesus. Jesus knew all this and turned it around on them. When their façade was exposed, the Lord asked her the accusers were, why was it that none continued in their condemnation of her. When she replied that there was no one left nearby to condemn her, the Lord said to her that neither was He going to condemn her. His exhortation to her was to go and sin no more. She was exposed, humiliated and, perhaps, destitute. Still she walked away from the Lord with hope. She was caught, exposed, and should have been sentenced to death. She walked away free, covered, and very much alive.
We have our own plagues; to the Lord we have been exposed, but, perhaps, to our neighbor we have still have our façades. When our neighbor removes it, to whom do we turn?
I think for me is to spend some time each and every day in Bible reading and study. I am ahead in my readying this year because I listen to the Bible on my I Touch while at work and I listen to Bible preaching and teaching. So, there may be days when I don’t take time each day. I need to do more of that– I guess it is a problem of self-control, which seems to be common to many.
This goes right along with the other nudge in which I never responded. I wanted to respond with “round” and add, “round as a butterball.” I do struggle with self-control in eating, thereby I am round. Now we know I am being a bit light-hearted here, right? Self-control in eating, in speaking, in thinking could all be used, as well as those already mentioned. Today I will do better because of this nudge reminding me of God’s word on those mentioned.
Holding my temper, for sure. It’s not that I don’t want to hold my temper. I do. But I get frustrated and lose patience, particularly with those who lie. Also a problem are those who 1) continually and openly sin, calling good evil and evil good, 2) are hypocrites, and 3) hold one group to a set of standards and allow others to do as they please. These things drive me batty and cause me to stumble. So much for being “round”. 🙁
What commandment do you struggle most to obey? Loving my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39; James 2:8). Loving the unlovable becomes very difficult at times, especially when folks try to take advantage of you. To help my weakness in this area, I think of what Paul stated in Romans 5:8, that while we were yet sinners before God, Christ died for us. Then, it becomes easier to treat others as I would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12).
Do I struggle with death? Not anymore. There was a time when I was scared to death of dying. That was during a time when I was not living according to the will of God. After repenting and returning to living my life for God, I lost that fear. When you are living as a sinner, there should be a fear of dying, because you know what the consequences will be if you should die. At the age of 68and 1/2 I am ready to go be with the Lord. I feel that way especially on days like yesterday and somewhat today when the pains of abused and misused body aches come along in the winter time. Times when they can almost immobilize you. I am ready to leave that all behind. However, God must know there is work left for me to coninue to do. So I wait patiently knowing and hoping for my time to go.
Do I struggle with facing death? Not any more. Do I want to die now? No. I feel my work here isn’t done yet. My sons still haven’t launched on their own yet. But if the Lord were to call me home now, so be it. I would be better off, and I’m sure He would have something in mind to help my family in my stead.