I like to think that I can help others with their struggles because I’ve gone through them, and because for some reason I compulsively have to try. But i have realized over the past few years that struggles of the heart don’t just go away. Maybe for some they do, I’ve heard stories of complete turnarounds, but I find that some of my sins are more like viruses than bacteria: they flare up occasionally.
I have certain things that cycle through my heart on a regular basis, various forms of unbelief and doubt that when left untended will fester into full blown issues. I’m incredibly great full for the tools I’ve acquired to take care of certain ones before they get consuming, anxiety being one that I am surprised is so easily combatted by scripture. I continue, though, to taste it every now and then, which is a great reminder to continue to minister to my own spirit with the truths of the Word.
There are things that I haven’t yet gotten a strong grip on, one being my self depreciation and habitual desire to actually be punished. The gospel makes sense to me only some of the time I guess, and when it doesn’t I can’t just let myself go on and sin without feeling as though I’m paying for it. I’ve done that many ways, and was practiced in the ways of self harm for many years. I have stopped acting on these desires, but continue to find them once in a while waiting for me, a deceitful stronghold that whispers promises of fulfillment through pain. When I think about it, when I allow the ideas of what I could do to “make up for it” run through my head i actually scare myself. The darkness can be so tempting, and is so dangerous.
So I was thinking for a hot second, why? Why do some things remain? Why are there parts of me that need to be continually ministered to? Why can’t I hear the gospel once and have an entirely new heart and mind? Why can’t I move past these things? I’m pretty positive that they are 75% of what is keeping me from being perfect (the other 25% is cigarettes, alcohol, cussing, not having a filter and lust).
I’ve come up with 2 reasons.
First off, every time I find myself struggling and turn to Christ I get a renewed vision of his grace and love, and it perseveres my heart.
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. -1 Peter 5:10
For now, this is a continual process and one that reminds me when I’m stagnant of how good my God is! Yes, I’m using an exclamation point to emphasize that, because it’s so true!
The second thing I’ve realized about these struggles is that Christ never said thy they would go away. He said they would be ever ready to ruin our work, relationships, and days. But he also said that we now have his Spirit as an ever present help in times of trouble. We don’t deserve to have such a good and faithful God, yet here he is. Working in us for the rest of our lives to bring us closer to holiness, to sanctification.