Make War

Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll obey all I have commanded” (John 14:15), and he also said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).

Paul says, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), and “I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Cor 9:26-27).

I don’t know about you, but this dying to self thing is really really hard. This, picking up my cross and choosing obedience thing is really really hard. I struggle with it. I find myself often trying to find work arounds. It is truly bothersome the more I think about it.

For instance. God is gracious and kind, abundant in steadfast loving kindness. He doesn’t require that we die all at once, but gives us little bits at a time to kill off. But just when I think I’ve won something, I see just how far I need to go, and sometimes that leads me to discouragement.

I fail to look back and see just how far I’ve come. To look at that proverbial map tracker to see that I’ve put in ten miles in a twenty mile run. Rather than looking at it as “Man, I have so far left to go”, I should be yelling at myself, “You are halfway there! Keep going! Keep pace.”

Paul wrote to the Phillippian church that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6). So why do I struggle so much? Why do I writhe in pain as he does this good work for me?

God told me months ago to give up soda. I drank (drink) way too much of it. Almost like he was saying, “I made water. It’s good for you. Drink more of it.” But me being a pain in his butt began to try figuring out if there was something else I could drink that was “healthier” while not being soda. I began to drink energy drinks. But not any energy drinks. “Healthy” energy drinks. See what I did there? There is no such thing as a “healthy energy drink”. There are energy drinks with “good stuff” like amino acids and vitamins and minerals in them, but they are not healthy. I should know they aren’t since in big bold writing on the can it says “Not for people under 18”.

Over the last week I’ve become really convicted of my decision. I’ve come to see it as a loophole. Much like as a child when Dad asked me to go pick up my toys, so that’s all I did; knowing that he wanted my room picked up, I did the bare minimum and expected a congratulations. Well, more of a “good boy”. But to my shock, I ended up in trouble for not doing what I was told.

As a father myself, I see this in my own children; “You didn’t tell me to dry the dishes, you told me to wash them.” Yet, what drives me crazy in my own children, I do to my heavenly father. I now feel ashamed of my behavior. I have disappointed my heavenly father. To me, there is nothing worse than disappointing Dad.

I know he is quick to forgive, abounding in steadfast loving kindness, mercy, and grace, yet I must confess my sin. Confess to him that I struggle with this dying thing. That what I want to do I find myself not doing. That what I do not want to do, namely disobeying my fathers wishes, I find myself doing. I see myself in that same argument Paul described in Romans 7:15-20.

The last few days the Holy Spirit has laid upon me that these loopholes I seem to seek out are in fact sin. That I must stop this action immediately. If I love him, I need to obey him outright. He said, “I want you to get away from social media.” So I took time away from it. But then I went back to it! Oh, my heart breaks for my sin as I write this. So with a very close friend, I decided it was time to go FaceBook dead. Completely deleting my account.

But then I just replaced it with the YouTube. Rather than filling in that empty time with God’s word as I know I should be doing, I filled it with mindless, numbing, stupid, senseless, timewasting videos. And the thing is, I know they weren’t building me up in any way. I just said to myself, “They aren’t hurting anyone.” But they took me away from the one who created me. 

Dying to this world and the things in it, I’m finding it extremely difficult. Getting up on that cross and allowing the Holy Spirit to do his convincing, convicting work is hard. It hurts a lot. But again, he is doing it slowly. While this can be and should be a relief, it also makes me want to just scream, “Kill me already!!!” But I also know that would hurt even more, and might likely lead to more damage.

Pastor Dave says that belief is having a personal relational trust in God. Knowing that his words, works, and decisions are all for our benefit. That he knows better than I. Pastor Dave also states that the Holy Spirit will give us the grace to make it through.

Holy Spirit, please give me the grace, mercy, and peace to bear this cross daily.

Published by Hillside Christian Church

We Proclaim: Faith Alone in Jesus Christ is all you need for Salvation! Baptism is an act of obedience following a confession of faith. An outward sign of an inward reality. Sunday Morning at Hillside Adult and Children’s Sunday School — 9:00 a.m Home of the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 Children's Church 10:15 a.m. Worship and Preaching of God’s Word— 10:15 a.m. Praise Band Lead Worship: Easy Listening Contemporary Style and Traditional Music Arrangement

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