The struggle is real
Scripture: Romans 7:24, 25
There is a saying that some use to illustrate something comically, ironically or dramatically and can be used to express frustration, amusement, or a host of other emotions: “the struggle is real”. There is a much more desperate struggle that takes place in the heart of every man, woman, and child that is truly the real struggle, one that no life has ever been free from: the struggle between sin and sanctification. Sin, the result of disobedience to God, is a force that has corrupted, destroyed, and eventually killed every person that has ever lived (Romans 6:23). Sanctification, the power of God at work in the heart of any man or woman who surrenders at the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The struggle that we face, even after we’ve come to know Christ as Lord, is our flesh struggling against the desire and will of the Holy Spirit who dwells with-in our hearts. Paul spoke of this struggle this way: For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15 ESV). As a follower of Jesus Christ, as a teacher, preacher, minister, and disciple, I am fully aware of God’s desire and will as revealed in His Holy Scriptures, yet no matter how I struggle, I still fall and fail God daily.
The Devil is a liar and the father of them (John 8:44) and he would have you and I believe that if we fail God, surely we cannot be saved, forgiven, or redeemed. How could someone who claims to be a follower of Christ fail Him? How could someone who knows the Word of God fail to keep even the most basic commandments of Christ? How could someone who loves God disappoint Him over and over? Knowing the terrible price Jesus paid on the cross for me and because of me, how could I give in to the temptation and sin that He died to set me free from? Paul reminds us of the truth that we must hold on to: Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:24, 25 ESV).
Today maybe you find yourself walking in a painful, dark valley, alone and desperately crying out to God, don’t give up. Though we may fail God, even in a very big, public, terrible way, the grace of Jesus Christ is enough and nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:28, 29). Maybe you are angry with God, questioning the pain and suffering in your life, maybe in your heart you are screaming “God, where are you!?” Quietly listen for His reply: “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). You are not alone, Jesus is with you (Matthew 28:20) and trust that He who has started a good work in you will see it through until it is completed (Philippians 1:6).
May the words of Jesus pierce the darkness of the night you find yourself in, and may His blessed hope fill your heart with peace, joy, strength, and hope:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)