Strive & Struggle

So transparency day has come and gone and, what’s funny about that is I’m still not too far from that vulnerability that I was in on Tuesday. I have found so much comfort in Philippians 4: 4-8 and I’ve been chewing on it and sharing it with just about everyone I see, call, bump in to… that’s just God – they either need it or He’s using them to keep reminding me of it… either way – it’s good…

Today, faith is up and running, and the Lord has been so faithful to continue to meet me, even when I feel shaken – which is more often than I admit. He’s also opened my eyes and my heart to remember this:

For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12

Remember that part on Tuesday where we’ve been so blessed to meet so many new people and pray for so many? Well, FYI- we are also potentially meeting different ‘powers of this world’ that we’ve not encountered yet. Stay with me, spiritual warfare isn’t popular, it isn’t glamorous, and unfortunately, it’s been relegated to what some call the ‘creepy folks that play minor chords’.   But it’s real. It exists. Too many times to count -we can safely say over 100- the Bible mentions it. So what’s the deal?

Here’s the deal: we encounter it every day – at home, out and about, in churches, in people… it’s going on everywhere. This is where the Believer has to make the decision to recognize and pray or sit by and ultimately become a participant. When the ‘striving to be Christ-like’ (Phil. 3:12) becomes a ‘struggle to be Christ-like’ … I submit that we Believers take the two words and confuse them, misuse them, and it all ends in a big pit of desperation… We are called to ‘strive’ –

Strive: make great efforts to achieve or obtain something.

Not to struggle:

Struggle: make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction

I also submit that if you are an active, breathing, relationship walking believer in Christ, while it’s hard and can seem like a struggle, turn your thoughts to the fact the battle has been won already – on the cross. Beth Moore says in her book Believing God, “I am who God says I am.” She also points out that we sometimes interject: ‘I strive to be who God says I am.’

We strive to be like Christ – we don’t strive to attain His grace… that’s been done when we accept Him. He sees us covered by His precious blood and that gives us the ability to strive to be like him  NOT strive to do things FOR Him. We struggle because of sin, but that doesn’t separate us or negate our salvation – it means we are in need of Him. These two words will always be a part of who we are because we are flesh. They aren’t an anecdote that will make things easier or harder; but let them be a a little light today that makes you wonder where you and what you’re doing in your faith walk with Jesus. Be advised, we will ALL sometimes strive and sometimes struggle – we are human.

So where are you today? Striving to be like Him? Striving to do things for Him? Are you Struggling against Him and what He’s telling you? Are you trading trust for struggle?

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Phil 3:13

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