Struggling to Survive

At the root of sin and degradation is pride and rebellion. These often stem from unresolved conflicts in our past. We hide our pain behind a veneer of self-reliance in order to avoid further injury.

We do not want to take a chance on being vulnerable again. Struggling to survive, we choose self-absorption and arrogance instead of living a life of humility and self-sacrifice.

We live within the parameters of our sinful nature and set our mind on what our flesh desires (Romans 8:5). Our spirit is dead in sin and we cannot help our self (Ephesians 2:1).

Even church attendees who claim Christ as their savior play along with worldly culture, advice and popular demands. They came under conviction at one point, but their life was never converted.

Political correctness, religious pluralism, humanism and other new age lies color our concept of holiness. We take the path of least resistance and follow the crowd.

We lack discernment, spiritual understanding and perception. Caving in to the struggles, strain and stress of everyday life, we turn away from Biblical wisdom, God’s love and devotion.

Jesus is the perfect example of a humble, yet powerful life. He said that no one could take His life until He was ready to lay it down (John 10:18). By following Jesus’ example we truly convert from hedonism to holiness.

Jesus illustrates for us that the Lord is our portion, provider and protector as we obey His Word. We seek His face with our whole heart and God is gracious to us according to His promises (Psalm 119:57-58).

Prayer:
Father God, we invite Your Holy Spirit to cleanse our thoughts, heal our memory, calm our fears, and direct our goals and plans. We trust that in our pain and suffering, You are working out Your will and purpose for our life, giving us opportunities to share Your love and to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

Teach us discernment through our life experiences; heal our raw emotions of discontentment, loneliness and anxiety; give us hope to overcome anger, unforgiveness and bitterness; and help us to walk in Your will with faith for each moment of our day.

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit wants to direct the details of our day, so let’s step aside, stop obsessing and trust and obey; there is no better way to enjoy the joy of the Lord.

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Our Futile Self-Life

Our Futile Self-Life

In our finite existence, we experience many areas of life, which are extremely painful and almost impossible to survive. However, with God, all things are possible (Luke 18:27). So, when God dwells in us, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), and we can accomplish whatever He calls us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Outside of His anointing, we are powerless and our efforts are futile (John 15:5). We reap no lasting value from all of our earnest, but frantic works for God.

In truth, God does not expect us to succeed apart from Him. As Paul declares, we often concede to sin when we actually want to walk in holiness. We cannot even achieve many of the spiritual goals we set for our self (Romans 7:15-24). There is no shame in this. The shame comes when we persist in living for God from our own self-efforts. We continually fall short, and we live in disgrace and depression because of our failures.

Our attitudes influence our body, soul and spirit. Criticism, gossip, self-pity, depression, anger and bitterness all strongly impact our soul, which in turn affects our body and spirit. Once we realize the futility of attempting holiness on our own, we can sigh in relief and stop disparaging and demeaning our character or someone else’s failings (Proverbs 15:4, 18:21). Living a holy life is impossible for us, but more than possible for Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

Our part is to guard our body, soul and spirit and to live in surrender to God’s will (Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 3:5-6). As we meditate on God’s precepts and guard what we focus on, we will mirror His Word and delight in His Truth (Psalm 119:15-16). We are all lost and undone on our own, but Christ is victorious in and through us. When we come to the end of our self-efforts and completely surrender to God’s Spirit and Lordship, then God can actually use us for His glory.

Prayer:
Father God, we know that Your power is manifest only in our helplessness. As we daily surrender to Your will, You conquer our self-life and fleshly carnality. We are in Your care and You live out Your will in our surrendered life. We are strengthened by Your might in our inner core (Ephesians 3:14-21). Holiness and consecration bring revival in us and in Your church, so help us to deepen our union with You in all things.

Thought for the Day:
It is only as we realize our utter human hopelessness, and depend entirely on God, that He can use us for His glory.