Sunday, November 6, 2011

Real Struggles

He enters my home and sits down comfortably as though he is an invited guest. My fatigue and irritation are written all over my face, but rather than make a move to leave he settles in all the more. You would think that he is all the more resolved in his visit after seeing my noticeable agitation.

His name is Rage. He often enters my home with the desire of disrupting all my well-laid plans. My plan is to act in a loving way to my family, to my friends, and to everyone I meet. My plan is to be patient and kind, forbearing with those who are irksome to me. But, Rage does not pay any heed to my plans. He thinks he has a higher authority. We are constantly bickering back and forth. He points out all my flaws and short-comings. Then he proceeds to point out all the weaknesses of those surrounding me. At times in the conversation I become quite provoked. I lash out and use words with the others in the room that are entirely inappropriate. Rage is pleased. He is starting to pace now… like a lion on the prowl. It is becoming more clear in my mind every minute that this visitor is my Adversary. He is waiting to devour me. And, if he has his way, he will use me to  devour everyone around me.

The fur on the back of his neck is now sticking up. He went from being a seemingly innocent bystander to being a constant source of contention within my home. In response, I am perturbed within my own self. Another visitor has entered the room, he is closely acquainted with Rage. In fact, they serve the same master. This new unwelcomed visitor goes by the name of Condemnation.

Rage and Condemnation and now working together with a will to steal, kill, and destroy all my good intentions at godly living. Condemnation is quick to point out each and every way that I have displeased my Master. He speaks with authority, as though he knows my code of conduct better than I do myself. The constant prodding of Condemnation is causing me to further conduct myself in a pattern of behavior consistent with that of his companion Rage.

I see how things are spinning out of control. So do they. Rage is cheering me on. Condemnation is reminding me that self-control is a fruit of the spirit, and I am clearly not acting like a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit. He goes on to tell me that perhaps I am not a Christian at all. With weeping I agree that he is right. I am undone.

But, wait! What’s this I remember reading in My Master’s Book about Condemnation? I remember now! There is no condemnation in Christ. There is no condemnation in Christ. There is no condemnation in Christ. Condemnation is not welcome in my home, he must leave at once!

Condemnation leaves and I see that he too was truly a lion trying to devour me. He never intended to build me up and help me to live a more godly life. I see now, as he turns to go, that his tail is between his legs. He was acting strong enough for a while, but he knows he is no match for My Master’s Word! He cannot be welcomed in a home whose motto is – There is no condemnation in Christ.

But, who is that prowling behind me. It is Rage. He is still here. He thinks that I am still under his influence, because I spoke with such vehemence to his friend Condemnation. But, my anger is something that Rage has misinterpreted. He will soon see that the power of anger within me now is the same as that Righteous Holy Anger burning in The One who turned over the tables in the Temple. That’s right, Rage. The power within me is the same power that was within the sinless One, Jesus.

Rage begins to back away. He sees a light in my eyes that tells him that he has lost ground. He has seen this light before, it is a reflection of the Light of the World shining from inside my very soul. With one last offensive effort, Rage jumps at me again. But, I am holding my shield of faith now! I have at last remembered that My Master gave me armor to fight against such enemies. While my shield deflects his sharp teeth, I reach for my dagger. I stab Rage again and again:

“No weapon formed against me will prosper.”
“I am the righteousness of Christ.”
“Put away bitterness, wrath, and anger.”
“I am a new creation in Christ.”

I feel strength from within me. Clearly my master is fighting from within my own self. He is waging war with his foe. My Master’s Helper – that is the Holy Spirit – has given me strength and armor for this battle. And, now, Rage is stumbling out the door.

I sit down to look at my own wounds. They are many. The lions never leave me unscathed. But, My Master’s Helper is here to tend to the wounds. He speaks kind words to me. He reminds me that My Master loves me so much that The Son came to die for me. He reminds me that I am the apple of My Master’s eye. Such words of love are a balm to my soul. The stings of my enemy’s sharp teeth are no longer so evident to me. I am immersed in remembering the love of my master.

I get up. I now have renewed strength to face the day. Yes, I made mistakes. Yes, I have a lot more growing to do. But, My Master loves me. He looks on me and sees the righteousness of His Perfect Son. He looks at me and sees what He knows I will become. My Master knows that He will finish the Good Work that He has begun in me. He has perfect confidence in this… and He wishes to share some of this confidence with me. Warmth, joy, peace, and love are all abounding now within my home. My Master’s Helper has left a blessing in the place of the conflict that was here just moments ago.

I can hear my Master singing over me from afar. He is still reminding me of his love. He is delighting over me! He is singing over me! I am quieted by His Holy Love and I return to the business of my day.

Peace is restored. Joy is restored. Love is restored. My Master loves me and He sent His Helper to restore unto me the joy of my salvation.

His Mercies are new every morning, and I have a reason to live. Praise God to whom all blessings flow.

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