The Struggle is Real

{This blog, title and all, was written on November 30th. I think. I tried writing it out on paper. Which meant it wasn’t typed on my computer or phone. Which resulted in it not being posted. While preparing a new piece of writing, I couldn’t help but publish this one first. The struggle is REAL!}

It’s “Writing Wednesday.” An all-day event in my calendar every week that’s intended to keep me accountable to blogging. Life happens. Kids have doctor appointments and Turkey Trots, and writing turns into a monthly event rather than a weekly one.

Today is different. More according to plan. I have one hour, one quiet hour. No kids. Just me, a cup of coffee, gluten-free banana bread, a yellow writing pad, and some pretty music. I show up, pen in hand, and wait upon the Lord.

This morning, while trying to get everyone ready for the day, I wrestled in my mind. I have nothing to write about. Nothing to share. I can’t write today. And then, the Spirit impressed upon my heart: “Write where you are, right where you are.”

Where am I?

I’m a mess. And yet I have peace. I try to quiet the enemy’s lies with God’s truth. It would be easier to do chores and to be busy than to sit and be vulnerable. To appear that I have it all together than to expose my brokenness.

I read Colossians 3:1-17…

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

It’s a painful process, but I want to die to myself. To kill my selfish tendencies. My natural, habitual way of living. “Once and For All” by Lauren Daigle plays on Spotify. (I love when the songs are shuffled and the perfect song plays at the perfect moment.) “Oh let this be where I die, my Lord with thee crucified…”

Dying isn’t easy. But when we’re dead to self, to flesh, to sin – it’s there we find life in Christ. Real, abundant, Spirit living.

We’re instructed to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature (3:5). We may need to identify some areas that we haven’t surrendered. Or that we’ve started walking in again from our former life, before Christ. I love verse 7: We used to walk in these ways, in the life we once lived. But as verse 9 and 10 explain, we have taken off our old self, with its practices, and we’ve put on the new self…

Am I being renewed – my new self – by heart knowledge? By my relationship with my Creator? In His image?

Am I clothing myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (3:12)? Daily? Actively?

Or am I picking up pieces of my former self – attempting to resurrect the dead and old and ugly? To cover up who He has created me to be (in His image)? Am I trying on greed and idolatry to see how they fit? Am I wearing evil desires, anger, rage?

I’m on a journey heavenward. I’m in the process of being perfected. Today I’m reminded of the things I need to put to death – my selfish self. To set my heart, my mind, my eyes on things above (Jesus), not on earthly things (my self). The battle between flesh and Spirit is real. The struggle is real. But praise God – the war has been won! We know how the story ends. Jesus is victorious, and will make us victorious over sin and flesh and death.

To be self-less. More of Him, less of me. Finding the balance… He made me – my personality, my uniqueness. He loves me right where I am. But I haven’t arrived in my character development. There is plenty of room to grow. To be a loving reflection of Him to others. To let His light shine through me. For my life to be hidden away with Christ in God. Not to be a robot, but to be close to Him and be more like Him.

Closer” from Bethel comes on in the background… “Pull me a little closer, take me a little deeper… I wanna know your heart…”

I love this passage in Colossians because it doesn’t just tell us what to stop doing. It gives us plenty of ways to invest in our “new” self – our Spirit. But it starts with being…

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…” (3:1)

We have been raised from death to life in the Spirit.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:1-10 (NIV)

We were dead in our sins, but God made us alive in Christ. Because of His great love for us. Before we had done a thing to deserve it, while we were dead… Grace was extended. The gift of salvation given. Our ransom paid.

No Longer Slaves” from Jonathan David & Melissa Helser plays. “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God… I am surrounded but the arms of the Father, I am surrounded by songs of deliverance… We’ve been liberated from our bondage…”

It is done. It is finished. And now we get to walk with Jesus, daily, becoming more like Him.

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” – Romans 7:21-25 (NIV)

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Praise God! He has delivered me through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross!

“‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – 1 Corinthians 15:55-58 (NIV)

The struggle is real. Spirit and flesh. Life and death. Freedom and bondage. Faith and fear. The struggle is real, but so is our Savior. He came that we may have life – abundant life.

May we be willing to die to self and enter into the abundant life with Him.

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2 thoughts on “The Struggle is Real

  1. Megan, as usual you write of things we all experience … and do it in such a compelling way. It is a life long process to be confirmed to the image of Christ ! It is sometimes so difficult and yet our merciful Father holds us so close in the process! I look forward each time I read your blog, because I know I will blessed and God’s truth will be written so honestly! Love you, Carlene

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