The Struggle is Real

That we can be free from sin while in our fleshly bodies is not possible – although if we truly have Christ in us, the power of sin should no longer reign in our bodies (Romans 6:6). The tendency will always be to do the things we ought not do, and this struggle will continue until the day we are called home or the Lord returns.

While God is not the author of evil or of sin, He will allow us to go down paths that lead to devastating outcomes in our lives. Looking back on some of these in my life, I now see them as “teachable moments”. I truly believe that had I not been so mired in behaviors that were threatening my career and my marriage a few years ago, I would not be where I am today. This is not to say as Paul stated in Romans 6:1 , “Should we sin more, so that grace may abound?”, but recognize that in our freedom to do evil, God’s providential work will not be thwarted. Whatever His plan is for my life, He has placed me on a path of studying His word daily that I am certain I would not have instigated on my own. God is clearly working in me for some purpose. Where this ultimately leads, I do not know. I know to only trust in Him, and be ready to answer His call to do whatever He asks of me and wherever He wishes to send me.

For me, and perhaps a few of you, it was always pride that stood before me and prevented me from seeking help when I was at my lowest. I always thought I could handle things on my own and if things got to a point where the struggle seemed too much, I would seek out some type of worldly support group for comfort. About all that was accomplished in these groups was recognition of similar behaviors and a reward system based upon striving over the struggle.

There was no hope of true recovery.

Why? The problem with both of these is that neither is grounded in God’s word. Both seek to try to make the individual stronger and thus, even less reliant on our Creator. That can only lead to a further pattern of corruption.

It wasn’t until I finally recognized that in order for me to become stronger, I had to become weaker. I had to admit I can’t win this fight on my own and that if I continue to not allow God to work in me, I was doomed to repeat the past again and again. It wasn’t a “Let Go and Let God” decision, for I knew I had an active role to play in my own recovery. I did, however, have to allow Him a dominant role in my heart.

Can I say I’ve arrived? Certainly not. For I know the draw of this world still takes precedence over Him at times. But I can say that the desire to participate in the behaviors that almost ruined me have faded into the background. The darkness is continually being replaced by light, as I like to tell my wife. But I recognize that if I do not actively pursue the light, darkness is waiting once again to consume me, as it might be for some of you. For this reason alone, we must stay in God’s Word and study, not just read. There is a big difference between the two.

I pray if anyone else struggles such as I that you recognize there is only one way to resolve the path you are on, and that is to pray from a broken and contrite heart to the very God who can take you from the dark place you currently reside into the light of His everlasting love. Surround yourself with wise, Godly counsel and find a good church home that truly welcomes the broken.

“Every sin brings on another sin; and the continuance in sin makes the tendency to sin stronger: Heal my soul, Lord. If I was once a drunkard, and I have given up the evil thing, yet the thirst will come: heal my soul of it. If I have been a man of the world, and have made unrighteous gains, the tendency to do so again will be strong upon me when the opportunity occurs: Heal my soul, Lord. That I may forget the wanton songs I used to sing, the wanton sights I once delighted in, the wanton lusts that once ate up my life: Heal my soul, Lord. It is one thing to be forgiven, it is another thing to be delivered from the result of a long life of sin; yet God can do even that, so pray: Lord, be merciful unto me, and pardon me. Heal my soul, and sanctify me.

~ Charles Spurgeon