Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

The Struggle (2)

   Alright then, so we’ve established that we can’t rid ourselves of all sin…or even of our sinful tendencies. So what do we do with that clearly Biblical fact? (1 John 1:8ff) The doctor knows we are terminal, but that doesn’t stop her from treating us. Exercise and proper diet won’t prevent all illness, nor keep us from dying one day, but it’s still worth it, isn’t it? The struggle is not without its benefits then, is it? 

   So what about our sinful tendencies? Might we be called in Christ to fight against those? One could reason that since they possess such tendencies, God must be the source of them, so it must be right to fulfill them. But Scripture teaches otherwise. Isn’t it true that you, as God’s child of faith, are called to a magnificent struggle in life…to deny yourself. There are men who have sexual interest in children (may God forbid all sin in this area). I spoke with a Christian counselor about this terrible problem. I asked him if that condition was correctable. Can one ever get over that? He told me that he had spoken with Christian men who had such tendencies…and that even though they had not permitted themselves to give in to those temptations for many years, they still confessed an inward pull towards it. So…what do we tell them about victory in Christ. We tell them they are called to magnificent struggle. They must keep putting one foot in front of the other, denying the evil tendencies, adding no fuel to the fire within, seeking whatever help is available to resist the pull.

   Is it difficult for them? What do you think? Is it difficult for you to give up alcohol, smoking, pornography, cursing, hot temper, over-eating, over-spending, and a hundred other tendencies toward evil? Of course! But you are called to magnificent struggle under Christ. In His honor, because of Him and through Him, struggle on, even with no end in sight, against apparently insurmountable odds.  

   Our toughest struggle may be that against our own hearts. It matters not…fight on! What’s that? You say you have failed for the thousandth time. Well that is too bad. It is sad…maybe even tragic. But what now? Will you give up? If so, you give up on the One Who took the nails for you. Don’t do that! Don’t fall into the progress trap…where we begin to reason within ourselves that we must experience x amount of growth in x amount of time or else we are not really God’s people and we should stop fooling ourselves and others and just give up. Please understand, that’s not what God wants you to do, and He knows you better than you know yourself, doesn’t He? If we have to be able to detect our own progress as a requirement for our continuing with Jesus, then we aren’t walking by faith, but by sight. Don’t do that! And if your lack of spiritual progress bothers you, well, that is progress in itself, isn’t it? You are called to magnificent struggle…no matter if you feel holier today than yesterday or not…no matter if you are better today or not…no matter if you can chart recent progress or not…no matter if you feel like it or not.

   One thing I know, if we struggle on, if we refuse to give up, even though we may not feel or look like winners, we are more than conquerors through Him Who loves us so. To struggle on when we are having real difficulty seeing any reason to do so other than our love for Him, listen…this truly honors Him. And those who honor Him, He will honor in return. (1 Samuel 2:30) So brothers and sisters, be aware that your struggle is a magnificent thing. It testifies that God is working on you and that you are unwilling to quit until He ultimately accomplishes His marvelous handiwork in you. Please struggle on! I’m asking you not to quit. And I do know, at least something, of what I’m asking of you. The Cross proves that He didn’t quit on you, let’s respond to Him in kind!

 

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4 thoughts on “The Struggle (2)

  1. “Don’t fall into the progress trap…where we begin to reason within ourselves that we must experience x amount of growth in x amount of time or else we are not really God’s people and we should stop fooling ourselves and others and just give up.”

    Too many times those around us set expectations on how quickly we should get over something or how we should act after a certain amount of time has passed. We begin to feel it in ourselves. I know that I’ve made the comment more than once that, “This should not still be bothering me” or “I should be over this by now”. Who says?

    You bring out a good point that God may never relieve our struggle … He may never remove our pain … but we should not quit. What I tend to do is feel like I’m not doing what God wants or things would be better. I use my “feelings” as a gauge for God’s approval rating of me. That is so dangerous. It is also dangerous to rely on other’s approval to gauge God’s approval. I can’t judge God by anyone but God. He tells me how He feels about me and I have to learn to trust that.

    I have to thank Him once again for leading me to a place where there are no clocks on the wall. There is never a time limit on anything. The only person that has put pressure on me to be farther along than I am is me. It has been so good for my heart. I’m able to share my struggles not worrying that someone is thinking, “Here she goes again.”

    Your last few posts have really challenged me to think. My brain is a little tired … but my heart is growing with every word. Thanks.

    YES, SO RIGHT, PAIGE! USING ANYTHING OR ANYONE AS A GAUGE OF OUR APPROVEDNESS, BESIDES GOD AND HIS GOOD WORD, IS NOT ONLY FRUITLESS, BUT IS DESTRUCTIVE TO OUR HOPE OF GROWING SPIRITUALLY. ABIDING IN HIM, GROWTH IS CERTAIN…BUT HOW MUCH AND WHEN AND THROUGH WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, ALL OF THIS IS IN HIS GOOD HANDS.
    AND I REALLY LIKED WHAT YOU SAID…”I have to thank Him once again for leading me to a place where there are no clocks on the wall.” AMEN…WELL SAID…VERY WELL SAID! REMEMBER, HE MAKES EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IN ITS TIME (ECC. 3:11). WE CAN’T LEARN PATIENCE BY RUSHING. AND GOD LOVES US TOO MUCH TO FORCE OPEN THE FLOWER HE IS MAKING OF OUR LIVES.

  2. Rex Boyles on said:

    There are so many things that we come to do “naturally” – chew, walk, talk. And yet, even after 56 years of practice, I still bite my lip, trip over my own feet, and stutter or mispronounce simple words. Learning to walk with and like Jesus seems to have the same lapses. I have craved knowledge and understanding of God’s Word since I was a little boy, and I have spent hours reading, memorizing, and attempting to apply it to my life … and yet now, I have lost so much of what I had learned. I have been able to quote “worship in spirit and truth” for years, and yet I still – too often – sing a song of praise and not praise the Lord. I have been trying to imitate Jesus since I read “In His Steps” a lifetime ago, but in all honesty I am further from His step now in my temperment and passion for people. But as poorly as I am doing in my talk and walk, I will not give up or give in. I will fight this fight … finish this race … keep this faith – and then cast myself on the mercy of the Father of all mercies. Rex

    MY BROTHER,
    I WILL GO ON RECORD STRONGLY DISAGREEING WITH YOUR ASSESSMENT OF YOURSELF, ESPECIALLY WHERE YOU CONFESS THAT YOU FEEL YOURSELF FURTHER NOW FROM HIS STEP IN YOUR TEMPERAMENT AND PASSION FOR PEOPLE. WE WHO KNOW YOU ARE STRUCK DEEPLY AND PERHAPS EVEN INITIALLY BY THIS GREAT PASSION FOR OTHERS THAT DRIVES YOU THROUGH DIFFICULTY, WEARINESS, SELF-DOUBT, AND WHATEVER ELSE, TO KEEP SEEKING THE LOST AND TEACHING THE TEACHABLE SAVED. I LIKE THE FIGHT YOU ARE IN AND THE FIGHT IN YOU. AND I AGREE WITH YOU THAT THERE IS NO RESTRAINT TO JEHOVAH TO SAVE BY MANY OR BY FEW. DO ALL THAT IS IN YOUR HEART…”fight this fight … finish this race … keep this faith – and then cast…(yourself)…on the mercy of the Father of all mercy”…DO ALL THAT YOU HAVE IN MIND…GO AHEAD; I AM WITH YOU HEART AND SOUL.

  3. Gail on said:

    I wonder about us as God’s children and still cussing, negative about things at times and just plain not acting like we should at all times even thought we know what God did for us thru the Cross of Our Jesus. And I know there are worse sins. There are a lot of people in prison that wish over and over again that they could take back the murder of someone, or just being there that associated them to guilt. We know all the sins that people can be in. At least most of them. Like people in the old testament that did things against God and how in the world could they ever get in the good Grace of God again. How could or would they ever feel like it and how could God ever accept them again. It is a lot to fathom to me.
    But I have heard it said “there is no sin that God cannot forgive”.

    I want to believe that and hope for that because I have people who have passed from this life that were not themselves. On too much medicine and pain and pretty much alone in that everyday day after day. They did not talk right (negative a lot) and they cussed often, got things confused and mixed up because of sickness and too much drugs they depended on that confused them more. They misunderstood that people did Love them but they could not grasp that, always thought people were against them.
    I want to believe with all my heart that God understood this child of his and (they was a child of God). This child was Our Sister Tammy Oakes.
    I hope and pray that Our Sister has been Forgiven of her ways that she really could not help and that God will and has accepted her into Heaven and she is really seeing how God works about his Love and Compassion.

    I am hoping for that so much, because you see I was seeing (even though I Loved Her Ver Much) the way we can be in this body (Sinful) and I am hoping God’s Grace will cover all of this also. Help me understand my Unbelief Lord, even though I believe. Sounds crazy well it is sometimes.

    God’s Grace – We are all depending on it so much – I am I know.

    Doug told me once lately when we was talking about Tammy “That God makes no mistakes” about the matter of who will be with Him. It will not be up to people who see only the outward apppearance, God sees the whole picture and is a Just and Fair God.

    DEAR SIS,
    I WISH MY HEART WAS AS TENDER AS YOURS. I WISH ALSO THAT I COULD RELIEVE YOUR CONCERNS. BUT I KNOW THIS…YOU ARE TRUSTING THE RIGHT ONE. WE ARE NOT UP TO THE JOB OF DEALING WITH THE HEARTACHES OF THIS LIFE ON OUR OWN, ARE WE? THAT’S OKAY. WE DON’T HAVE TO BE. WE HAVE A FATHER WHO ALWAYS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, KNOWS AND DOES WHAT IS RIGHT. PEOPLE MAY TELL US ALL KINDS OF THINGS…WE WILL TRUST GOD AND HIS WORD! WE WILL LET GOD BE TRUE AND EVERY MAN A LIAR. WE WILL LET GOD BE JUDGE, FOR ONLY HE IS QUALIFIED TO TAKE ALL THINGS INTO ACCOUNT…EVEN THE THINGS WITHIN THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE. REST YOUR HEART IN GOD.

  4. Don’t you think Peter knew a little bit about the struggle? He was so up and down in his life while Jesus was with him…and that did not stop after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Paul even had to correct him about his actions and attitude! And Peter tells us to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He needed to continue to grow….I need to continue to grow.

    I think you are right, that our toughest struggle might be against our own heart. Our heart will make us feel unworthy. Our heart will make us feel like giving up. Our heart wil remind us of our failures. Our heart will recall every hurtful thing anyone ever said to us and every discouraging act from our whole life. But God is greater than our heart!! Thank you Father.

    I love the way Rex said it…. “I will fight this fight … finish this race … keep this faith – and then cast myself on the mercy of the Father of all mercies.” Isn’t that all we can do?

    INDEED I DO THINK PETER UNDERSTOOD A “LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE STRUGGLE.” THERE WAS A DAY WHEN THE ROAD OF SUFFERING DIDN’T APPEAL TO DYNAMIC PETER. IT SEEMED SO STRANGE TO HIM THAT GOD’S WILL MIGHT LEAD A PERSON THROUGH SUFFERING, TORTURE, AND, EVEN, DEATH. ONCE HE WANTED NOTHING AT ALL TO DO WITH SUCH THEMES. THEN CAME CALVARY AND ALL PETER’S PREVIOUS CERTAINTIES WERE OUT THE WINDOW. SO GOD’S WILL MAY COME IN SPITE OF SUFFERING?!! YES! IN FACT GOD’S WILL COMES THROUGH SUFFERING AT TIMES! NO DOUBT! PETER SAW IN THE RESURRECTED, BUT SCARRED LORD THAT GOD’S PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR THE SAKE OF OTHERS…THAT IT IS A GIFT TO DO SO…AND THAT GOD WILL SEE THEM THROUGH WHATEVER OF GOOD OR ILL COMES TO THEM. (I CAN ONLY PRAY THAT I AM ENOUGH GOD’S MAN TO BE ABLE TO SERVE HIM THROUGH WHATEVER HE ALLOWS TO ENTER MY LIFE.)
    AND YES, THE STRUGGLE WITHIN US IS SO TOUGH, ESPECIALLY AT TIMES. BUT OUR HEARTS CANNOT WIN THIS STRUGGLE…THE CROSS SEES TO THAT
    I LIKE THE WAY REX SAID IT TOO. I LIKE THE WAY YOU SAY IT ALSO. MAY GOD GRANT US GRACE TO ACCEPT EVEN THIS GIFT, THE GIFT OF SUFFERING FOR HIM, LIKE HIM…FOR OTHERS…WHENEVER HE CHOOSES TO PLACE THAT CUP BEFORE US. AND MAY THE STRUGGLE WE UNDERTAKE FOR OUR LORD BRING HIM HONOR AND OTHERS BLESSING. THANK YOU FOR YOUR GOOD THOUGHTS, SHERRY.

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