Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 4, 2017

“civil war” battles

Do you ever get frustrated over the battle that rages within you? You claim to love God and sincerely want to do His will. There is no doubt that you want to fulfill His purpose for your life. You have an internal commitment to read Scripture, pray over the needs of others and to have an impact for Christ in your world. But, then … there’s the other you! You find yourself using words that hurt others, having horrible thoughts, refusing to forgive and generally not fulfilling what you feel is God’s purpose for your life. Welcome to the Christian life. We all battle with submitting to the Spirit versus living by the desires of our flesh.

In How to Be a Christian without Being Religious, Fritz Ridenour captures the battle you and I will face for the rest of our lives.

What’s your problem? Temper? Impatience?  Self-control? Sex? Being honest? Your thought life? Pride? Laziness? Self-centeredness? Everyone has skeletons, and they don’t always stay in the closet. You want to do right but you do wrong. You want to choose obedience but you choose sin. Sometimes you’d almost swear you were a split personality, a regular “walking civil war.”

You can probably identify with the “civil war” analogy. Others may look at your life and think you have it all together, but you know where you struggle. If you are anything like me, you are often dismayed about not living out your faith more effectively. But there is no need to live frustrated when we can avail ourselves of the Father’s incomparably great power. Although we will not know perfection until heaven, progress in our faith can begin today. Note our opportunity:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:16-18 (ESV)

If you are in Christ, the Holy Spirit will lead you and give you directions for the journey. In Ephesians all Christ-followers are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. But we have a choice: to live controlled by the Spirit or by our own selfish desires. When we seek to live in line with the Spirit’s leading, words like patience, self-control, peace and joy begin to define us. If each new day’s feelings control us, then emotions like impatience, selfishness, anger and irritation will dominate us.

There will always be the “civil war” struggles for us. However, in Christ you are given the opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit (what a privilege). Would it be possible for you to begin today and tomorrow with words like, “Lord, right now I submit to the leading of your Spirit for today…. fill me and use me!”  If you value His leading for every day, your days will be different. Oh, there will still be “civil wars,” but you will absolutely notice the progress. Take the time today to submit!

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