But it’s not all love, this writing business. Sometimes it’s more like a battle.
I have all these thoughts and ideas of what I want to do with this talent. But it’s so easy to stumble across another writer’s work and just wish I could be half as good as them. I’m never good enough in my writing. There’s always so much more I want to be doing or so many things I wish to do better. I truly am my greatest critic.
And in the end, I discourage myself. The greatest threat to my endeavor is my own insecurity. All my failed attempts and shortcomings stand out like blinding headlights on my journey and much too often I swerve off the road because of them.
This struggle is so familiar. Not just in my writing, but in my spiritual walk as well.
Somehow I get this idea that I’m supposed to be the “perfect” Christian. Maybe not entirely perfect, but I certainly should never have any major struggles with my faith, right? (Wrong).
I want so badly to be the Christian I ought to be. To serve God as He deserves and to love Him as He has loved me. But I keep falling short! I see this sin in my life and I feel more like a failure than ever. Even my desire to be closer to God is tainted by my own selfish heart. I want things to be easy. I want my faith to make me feel good. I want others to see the good things I do and be impressed.
At the same time, I want my faith to be real. I want to serve God as He desires, because He has saved me and I owe Him all that I have. I want to give my all in reckless abandonment for the One who has given so much for me. I want to follow His Word because it’s true and live in a way that glorifies my amazing God. I want this so badly that I have come to hate the things that keep me from reaching this goal. But somehow these things still keep popping up.
“For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” -Romans 7:15
I fail. I battle my own desires. Does anyone else have so much trouble? So often it feels as though I’m the only one. In the end, God ought to just walk away. I don’t know why He stays. I just can’t seem to get this right.
Perhaps… all this time… I’ve just been feigning salvation. Maybe… just maybe… I’m not even truly saved. How can I be with all these blunders?
Have you been here? What a disaster it is to your ego when you see all these shortcomings in light of God and His Word! When we see God’s holiness and then examine ourselves, it tends to take our pride and shred it into a million pieces. And maybe that’s the purpose of our hearts coming to this place. Perhaps this is a place where humility is taught.
Because the more we understand our own inability, the more we will treasure the grace and strength of our great God. What love He shows in loving us in spite of our many failures! Perhaps then, this also serves to teach us more of the depth of God’s love.
Because when it really comes down to it…
“You are not always kind. You are not always smart. You are not important to everyone. But you are loved with a love that confounds the ages and will blow the angels’ minds ‘til kingdom come.” -Hannah Farver
We aren’t perfect. And truth be told, in this world we never will be. We all have scars and stains that we try to hide. We all have thoughts we never share with anyone, for fear of what they will think. We all have past sins that we keep to ourselves because we imagine we’re the only person to fall into such a thing. We all struggle. We all doubt. We’re all sinners here.
And God knows it.
Your sin is no surprise to Him. He knew you were a sinner from the beginning. He knew you would continue falling short even after He had redeemed you – and still He sent His Son. Not because you were worthy. Not because you were righteous. Not even because you deserved it. But because God is merciful and loving and full of grace.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. -Ephesians 2:4-9
In this life, there will always be ways that we can do better in our walk with Christ. There will always be times when we doubt or fall short. There is never a time when we can say we have made it as far as we need to go in our spiritual walk. We keep learning and growing. It is part of being sanctified. We’re not made perfect all in one day. And it is a battle. A struggle against your own flesh.
“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” –Matthew 26:41
So do not discourage yourself. Do not believe the lie that God loves you less because you are sinful. He has loved you at your very worst and will continue to love you for all of eternity. Do not allow the presence of sin to keep you from growing closer to God. It is God’s business to sanctify the sinner and if you allow your sin to keep you from coming to Him, then you do not understand God.
If you see sin in your life, bring it to God. Pray that He will help you to overcome it. It may be painful as He purges this darkness from your heart, but if you truly desire to be closer to God, it will be worth it.
And finally, my friend, do not doubt that you are saved because of the struggles that you have. If you did not desire to be free of sin, then there would be no struggle. And the fact that you desire to be free is proof that God is working in your heart.
“Sometimes you think that you are not a Christian when you have trouble, but I should very much doubt whether you are a Christian at all if you did not have trouble.” -Corrie Ten Boom
Sanctification is a battle. Battles are not easy. You must fight. Do not allow your heart to be discouraged. Because… can I tell you a secret? The victory is already ours! Christ won it on the cross.
And when Christ returns, we will be free of this struggle. When we stand before God in Heaven, we will worship Him without the hindrance of selfish motives. We will live free of trouble, with victory over sin! What a glorious day that will be!
But for now, His grace is sufficient for each and every day. As we struggle to put our sin nature to death, His love will not fail and He will not leave. He is our help in this battle. And we could never do it without Him.