Waging the War Within (Why Seek the Living Among the Dead?)

by Steven Gledhill for FREEdom from MEdom Project

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” Luke 24:1-6 (NLT)

“Our resistance to His will reveals that we do not really believe it is good—at least not the kind of “good” we want.” —Fran Leeman

I experienced an incredible teaching by Apostle Angela Thibeaux concerning the restoration of the soul. Apostle Thibeaux spoke of the soul as the vehicle that drives the action of the body—behavior. The spirit of the man can be in agreement with spiritual truth while the soul of the man may just as well reject such spiritual truth, which, when behavior is inconsistent with what the spirit knows to be truth, drives activity that the spirit does not want to do. Therefore, I do what I don’t want to, and even do what I hate.

The status quo Christian existence trends toward contentment, but with a certain degree of discontentment. What I mean is that (I’ll speak for myself) I believe with confidence in what God can do in my life. My intellect agrees with God’s Word about what God is capable of. Intellectually, I am encouraged about His promise for provision and, dare I say, prosperity (not necessarily material blessing). Emotionally, though, (being honest with myself) I often doubt what God WILL do to bless my life in the “bigger things”… you know, my dreams and what not.

The same is true when it comes to the mercy and justice of God. I agree in my deepest intellectual sensibilities that I am forgiven, saved by grace, redeemed for eternity, justified by faith; and that God will not be mocked if I marginalize grace as a kind of license to sin. Yet emotionally, when craving my “drug” of choice, I sometimes trend toward giving in to temptation since I want to believe that God’s mercy and grace will trump the eternal justice of God.

Entertaining selfish sin, at the end of the day, is really nothing more than the pursuit of contentment in life among that which will fade away, decay, and die.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else out there find themselves waging the war within?

Why Change?

The war within can consist of a number of things in the life of the recovering sin addict. The recovering sin addict admits to the problem of the obsession with self and having “needs” met to realize contentment in a world focused on unmet—failed—expectations. The recovering sin addict is aware of character defects and asking for God to remove his or her shortcomings. The recovering sin addict is surrendered to God, experiencing the transformed life in relationship with Jesus Christ.

Then there is the sin addict unaware of the problem that is seeking the best this life has to offer in a dying world, focused on that which produces death. The sin addict not in recovery will not admit to being a sin addict. He or she will experience ongoing disappointment from failed expectations, even in the midst of the occasional success.

I have often said as part of my public confession that I am addicted to me. There has been the occasional response, “Are you narcissistic?”

Reading this right now, are you willing to admit—confess—that you are a sin addict? Will you acknowledge the need to be set free from the control of sin?

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.” John 8:32-34 (NLT)

To what extent are you in need of a change… a need to be changed?

You will always be you, but there are things about you that require change. You bathe to wash yourself clean of the impurities that affect you. You don’t wear the same clothes every day. Clothes eventually stink due to their exposure to those same impurities. Just like the need to bathe and change clothes, the body, mind and soul of a person must experience change; change enough that it makes a difference… like a bath and clean clothes.

My wife watched the show, “What Not to Wear”. And being the devoted husband that I am, I would watch it now and then with her. The premise was that some people—more specifically, women—dressed so poorly and inappropriately that their loved ones took pity on them and got them on the show for a fashion intervention. Some of the women dressed liked they didn’t care much about their appearance at all; not because they considered appearance to be vanity, but because of low self-worth. Other women dressed scantily, or very loudly, desperate for attention; also likely reflecting poor self-esteem. These women would be forced dispose of most of their wardrobe, and then given $5000 to purchase a brand new wardrobe deemed acceptably fashionable. They also received an awesome hairstyle and facial makeover.

Then, the women would return home to a festive reception to celebrate “the new you”… “the new me”. There would be applause along with hugs and kisses and tears of joy. As much as I claimed to dislike this program, the transformation of these women could be moving. Not only did they look so much better, they felt so much better about themselves. The change in clothes and renewed appearance not only made the women more attractive from the outside in, but from the inside out. It was the inside out change that was especially remarkable. Their countenance changed from lacking confidence to brimming with it. Their gloomy facial expressions now reflected enthusiastic optimism; seemingly every single time.

Why resist change? Why resent change?

Wisdom is adjusting your life to the truth. Foolishness is adjusting the truth to your life. We—you and me—are one or the other; the aware sin addict engaged in recovery (wiser), or the sin addict living out of range of authentic recovery (foolish). Which one are you?

The story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it. Luke 24:11 (NLT)

There is the issue of belief and that of faith; not faith in what God can do (intellectual certainty), but faith in what God will do (emotional doubt). Speaking for myself, I tend to believe with confidence in what God can do. But I trend toward doubting in what God will do for me in my life. I am suggesting that I have confidence intellectually in what God can do but that my confidence waivers, doubting from an emotional place, in what God will do. If emotionally I lack confidence (faith) do I, in all honesty, believe?

For what it’s worth, I believe with confidence in what God can and will do for you in your life since I am not directly connected to you emotionally… not in the sense that there is something at stake, if that makes sense. My writings are brimming with confident, enthusiastic, and passionate optimism for what God will do for you… to provide for and prosper you and all that. I even believe in the miraculous for you in your life. But when it comes to trusting in the miraculous for mine, well… I suppose I don’t feel worthy enough. Maybe I don’t pray enough, or fast like some folks I know that do receive bountifully from God. I am not as responsible with my finances as I need to be, and then I become a less than enthusiastic giver from my resources. Maybe that’s it. If I could only see the plan… have it laid out all nice and clean. I don’t do messy particularly well.

I definitely believe God for my salvation, and therefore, do not fear death, even when circumstances have indicated in the past that I am most certainly mortal. There have been a couple of occasions when the thought crossed my mind, “this may be it.” In those times, I experienced assured comforting peace that transcends understanding. That being the case, why doubt about what God will do in arduous circumstances when the essence of life itself is not hanging in the balance?

Here is another question. Why am I so sure of my salvation for eternity, relying on the supernatural God to do what He does in that case, but then doubt what supernatural God will do in my natural life circumstances? Humanly speaking, which is easier for God to manage?

Here is the final question to introduce this matter of seeking the living among the dead. How can I believe in the supernatural, all-powerful, all-seeing and all-knowing God of the universe to do something so miraculous as to raise me from the dead, but I do not fear this same God when it comes to what I think I am doing and entertaining in the dark? How is it that I tend to have greater fear of getting caught by my wife, my employer, my bank, or my doctor, but I am alright with compromising moral standards directly in front of the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-righteous God of the entire universe?

BOOM!!! That was loud just then.

Do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Romans 2:4 (NASB)

Scripture instructs me to be obedient through a surrendered life. I am told that God does not necessarily cherish my sacrifice. He finds real favor in my obedience to the instruction of His Word. There is a clear distinction between confession and repentance. I can confess sin and feel repentant while confessing it, but then continue taking license to sin since I do not see invisible God’s eyes on me. I must actually live a repentant lifestyle that is really only possible through the surrendered life. Only then do I experience the fullness of His blessing in right relationship with Him. Only then do I experience the loving mercy and grace from my Heavenly Father.

Do I believe it to be nonsense that Jesus Christ arose from the dead? Do I not truly recognize that Jesus Christ is no longer on the cross or in the tomb but sitting on the throne at the right hand of the Father? Did I miss something? Did you?

The War Within

The war within is not only a matter of choice but it is an issue of what I actually believe. If I truly believed in the justice of Almighty God as being as real as His love and mercy, ideally, there would be no war within the construct of my mind as it relates to my sin nature and selfish thinking and desire. If King David (the man after God’s own heart) fully believed in and feared the justice of Almighty God, you would assume that he isn’t going to sleep with his general’s wife and then conspire to have said general killed in combat so he can take his wife for himself. If the Apostle Paul fully believed in and feared the justice of Almighty God, there would not be Romans chapter seven to help instruct and guide us in waging this war within. He would not have known to write it.

14 So the trouble is not with the law (moral standard), for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin. Romans 7:14-25 (NLT)

But as it so happens, Paul struggled in much the same way I do when it comes to fully appreciating (if not fully believing in) the justice of an all-seeing, all-powerful, all-righteous Almighty God. Paul so articulately wrote about waging the war within as he wrote of a powerful force invading his emotional well-being to the extent that he would ignore what he understood intellectually for what he desired emotionally.

We understand the definition and concept of words like desire, intention, motivation, determination, as an element and function for how we think and behave and live every moment of every day. Have you considered that desire—want—is an emotion; a feeling? Have you understood intention, motivation, and determination to be feelings? If something is compelling it is that you are emotionally drawn to experiencing it in some way. And when you are unable to experience that thing that compels you, you feel disappointment and perhaps frustration. You may become angry, resentful, envious or jealous that someone else experienced what you didn’t. You may want something so desperately that you obsess over it. These are all feelings that cloud intellectual judgment.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1:14-15 (NLT)

Be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. James 1:6-8 (NLT)

Paul wrote that he even does the things he hates. He said it’s inevitable… something takes over his will… He can’t help it!

We discussed this in group this week, that someone could hate a drug and what it does to people and then turn around and sell that drug to those he loves, including family. He feels miserable about that; doing the thing he hates. Common sense should dictate that selling lethal drugs to loved ones is a despicable act since someone could overdose and die. Yet, emotion overwhelms and then overrides what intellectually is most reasonable, and makes the most sense.

Ambivalence is Resistance to Common Sense

Ambivalence is at least two desires or motivations that are equal in their emotional context but in actuality—intellectual reason—are effectually opposite in their potential impact. Reason would suggest that the drug addict that sells drugs or steals to acquire the resources to purchase drugs to get high will at some point in time experience the consequence of being arrested, convicted, sentenced, and incarcerated; if he’s not killed first.

The drug addict values his freedom, values the love and fellowship of family, and the best of what can be experienced through best right living. In the absence of the drug that his body is craving, and perhaps needing to keep from being “dope sick”, the value placed on meeting that “need” is perceived to be equal to the value of freedom and family. This reality betrays intellectual reason and is tantamount to moral treason. It’s really no different than the spouse that risks everything he or she truly values to engage in an extra-marital affair; willing to lose his or her family forever.

Ambivalence is the war within between emotional drive and determination and intellectual reason—common sense. Addressing and challenging this matter of ambivalence is the crux of the Christ-centered recovery endeavor. The insanity of addiction to self invades the realm of common sense, shattering the law of intellectual reason.

Individual plans I develop with my clients at some point in their treatment address then challenge this matter of ambivalence that if left untreated is resistant to sober recovery and will sabotage their hopes and dreams only possible through sustained freedom. My clients will list every positive benefit they can think of that comes with using drugs and doing whatever it takes to get them. Then they will list every negative consequence and cost connected to using drugs and engaging in criminal behavior. They will then do the same for what they can get and what they might lose through a lifestyle of sober recovery. When honest, each list is lengthy. Then they attach a price between 10 and 100 to each thing on their list. This helps them to quantify the things that feed into their ambivalence to positive change.

Finally, when their sobriety score is substantially higher than their using score, they are asked to address their resistance to change. The purpose of this exercise is the return to intellectual reason in agreement with what they know (and always knew) to be common sense. This exercise can be used to address and challenge the ambivalence behind every behavior of both the young and old person seeking behavioral change.

James wrote that following after desire—the chase for gratification—produces the outcome of death. So when I know that intellectually to be the case about , yet risk so much for gratification among that which produces harm and inevitably death… and I hate death… why do I continue to do the thing that produces what I hate? It makes no sense.

That is the meaning behind the angel asking Mary why she sought the living among the dead. It made no sense.

Apostle Paul said that he did what he did not want to do. Yes and no. He did, on some level, want to do the very thing he claimed to hate. Had he not, he would not have done it. So there is what I want… really want… and there is what I settle for. What I want is to experience life to the full. What I settle for is the counterfeit that looks real good at its surface; like the experience I truly want; but beneath the surface contains that which produces undesirable outcomes that I resist recognizing until they hit me where it counts the most. Paul bought the counterfeit goodies as well and experienced harm to the point that he said he was miserable (“Oh wretched man that I am”). I keep doing these things I hate over and over again, thinking next time it will satisfy me but then, once again, the bottom drops out and I pay the price. How insane is that?

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

. . 3) (2)“One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” Romans 7:24 (NLT)

The hungry wolves exist in the soul of each of us. Apostle Angela Thibeaux teaches that should I feed the wolf that is selfish and wants its own way, my body will behave accordingly. Should I feed the wolf that wants God’s best His way, my body will behave accordingly. Consistent with what is coming up from Romans chapter 8, to feed the flesh is to feed the wolf that is driven by the sin nature and wants what it wants when it wants; and to feed the spirit is to feed the wolf that is wanting God’s best His way. Either way, the body will follow the lead of the soul depending on how it is fed. To feed the spirit is to abide in the Word of God, meditating on it. Feed the spirit and the soul will follow it’s lead, and the body will follow it’s lead, behaving accordingly.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:1-8 (NIV)

Jesus asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Mark 8:36-37 (NIV)

How my soul is fed matters and is at the heart of this Christian life of recovery from addiction to selfish sin.

Feeding Frenzy

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death… Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. Romans 8:1-2, 5-9 (NLT)

What does it mean that the Spirit of the God of the universe and the heavenly realm is actually in control of my life?

Notice that this passage speaks to the matter of letting go through surrender. “Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death… Letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” This life of peace in relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ hinges on the daily act of surrender to the will and purpose of God. God promises in His Word that if I choose to stop looking for life among that which produces death, no longer giving in to urges and cravings connected to harm and pain, and offer my behavior to God in an attitude of surrender, that He will change how I think so that what I respond to emotionally lines up better with what I understand intellectually to be common sense.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

When transformed by the renewing of my mind, humbled by the profound impact of my addiction, it makes the most sense to surrender and turn my will and life over to the care of God. Surrender is something so powerful yet so misunderstood in the logic of human reasoning. Surrender tends to be an emotional reaction or response to an intellectual conclusion, according to the facts in the case. When God is considered a mystery rather than someone who is known, trusted and loved, He is relinquished to more of a mythical status, making for a convenient dismissal for the one arguing against believing without tangible evidence.

Wow! that sounds like I am referring to the disbeliever. Actually, the one I am referring to is the one claiming to be walking with God but is clearly resistant to doing what He says. I am talking about someone like me.

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? Luke 6:46 (NLT)

Do I believe in God?

Yes I do.

Do I know Him by tangible experience in relationship with Him?

Yes I do.

Do I trust God?

There lies the manner of faith that is paramount to the Christian life of recovery from self in sin… trusting in what God can do versus trusting what God will do. And I’m not just talking about trusting what God will do to protect me and bless my life. I am also talking about trusting in what God will allow me to experience when I willingly and continually give in to the cravings and urges of my addictive thinking and behavior; by choice, losing the war within while in relationship with Christ.

King David, the man after God’s own heart, repented of his addictive behavior with absolute conviction from the depths of his heart, to the extent that he touched the very heart of God and himself was impacted so profoundly that we have most of the book of Psalms out of David’s intimate connection to God. David would admit he was powerless, surrender his soul and body as unto the Lord, but then… take it all back and give in to his obsessions and rituals of addiction to selfish sin all over again. And then David would confess and repent again and again. And what came with that? Mercy and forgiveness out of a loving relationship with God.

What else came with it?

Real life outcomes from his actions. Read the book of 2nd Samuel. With repentance comes real-life consequences. David repented of adultery, fornication, lust, greed, covetousness, selfish pride, murder, and the list goes on. He had a daughter that was raped by his son. David’s two sons were murdered; one by the other son. His favorite son would be a king that had sex with seemingly every girl he knew. Solomon would marry them all to justify his fornicating. Like father like sons.

David lived as a king at the top of the food chain. I don’t know that David fully trusted God; that being the justice of God. He surely didn’t always appreciate the righteous justice of God. He paid the price.

1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your rage!
2 Your arrows have struck deep,
and your blows are crushing me.
3 Because of your anger, my whole body is sick;
my health is broken because of my sins.
4 My guilt overwhelms me—
it is a burden too heavy to bear.
5 My wounds fester and stink
because of my foolish sins.
6 I am bent over and racked with pain.
All day long I walk around filled with grief.
7 A raging fever burns within me,
and my health is broken.
8 I am exhausted and completely crushed.
My groans come from an anguished heart.
9 You know what I long for, Lord;
you hear my every sigh.
10 My heart beats wildly, my strength fails,
and I am going blind.
11 My loved ones and friends stay away, fearing my disease.
Even my own family stands at a distance. Psalm 38:1-11 (NLT)

Someone said in group the other day, “You know you’ve hit bottom when you choose to stop digging.”

Fight the Good Fight

At some point I must trust in what it means to be in relationship with the all-powerful, all-seeing, all-knowing, almighty God of the universe. At some point I must ‘let go and let God’ as the saying goes. Instead of letting my sinful nature dictate my course as I keep feeding that wolf, while starving the wolf that truly wants to do the next right best thing, I need to starve the sin nature and be fed in my soul through my spirit that is so connected to the Spirit of God. King David and, for a time, Apostle Paul struggled with feeling unworthy of God’s favor. I need to learn from the writings of David and Paul, and commit to being fully engaged in fighting the good fight that is the war within.

Paul tells us, Watch out for those dogs… We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort… Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith… I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead… so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead… Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3 (NLT)

Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.
1 Timothy 6:12 (NLT)

How do I fight the good fight, pressing on to receive the prize that is sure to come in glory? How do I wage the war within so that in this life at this time I can claim victory? I truly want to do right and good. I truly want to experience in relationship with Christ the transformed life with a renewed mind. What is the strategy for this recovery that actually works?

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)

This battle begins within me. Waging the war within me is about fighting the good fight with the weapons availed to me in my spirit. It is time to fight for the health of my soul. And when my soul is healthy, fight for the souls of those who are sick, dying, and lost.

God wants desperately for us to experience His absolute best for us when the time of perfection comes in glory for eternity, but He also wants desperately for you and for me to experience the satisfied life now… right now… today and again tomorrow. I need to believe this… I mean, really believe it. It’s time for me to grow up and heed what the Word of God says plainly is best right living, in agreement that it makes the most sense for living this life.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)

So why would I seek this new life in relationship with Jesus Christ among that which produces death; that which is selfish, feeding my soul with that which will steal my joy, destroy my peace, and kill my purpose? Why struggle so hard to manage what is beyond my reach and control, only to settle for what I accomplish in my own strength? Why try so hard to find favor in a dying world, fighting for what I can to bless myself? What a fool I am, deceived by material prosperity and the praise of men.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT)

How does anything in me that wants to grow up and experience the best that there is in relationship with God have disagreement with anything written here? And yet at some point this day or in the coming week, my emotional self giving in to temptation, will defy intellectual reason and trust in the garbage I allow to feed my soul. My mood and behavior will likely reflect such selfish, ego-driven pursuits. Then it’s back to the drawing board, confessing sin yet again, claiming mercy in the name of Jesus, hoping like crazy that the fallout doesn’t hurt too badly. I wonder what blessing is stifled when I focus on favor in the flesh (“I love my son, Steven, but I can’t trust with that…”)

It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, does it.

Jesus pleads with us for our own good, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (His best), and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Let us pray together for each other that we grow in confidence in what God will do when we let him, and that we will grow in confidence and determination to wage the war within, urgently pursuing Christ among the living where He lives and dwells.

It’s not hard to find Jesus. He is knocking at the door. He sees the bell but He prefers to knock. Open the door and let Him in to fellowship with you. To do that is to experience the best and most of who He is and what He wants and has for you. Let the rest go and rest in His favor.

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Philippians 3:15-16 (NLT)

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One Response to Waging the War Within (Why Seek the Living Among the Dead?)

  1. Fran Leeman says:

    I read the article. I especially liked the how you tackled the difficult topic of ambivalence and how our addictive behavior runs counter to the intellectual truth of the matter (common sense). It seems, within myself, that it has been a long journey to come to the place where I more readily bow down to the truth—the truth that my selfish direction is completely unfruitful, ridiculous even, and only harmful to myself and those I love. There is a sorrow that the soul must go through in letting go of what it thought it loved. Some of this is helped by age, by a long journey with God… I don’t want to waste more time, and I don’t want to have to learn some of the same lessons over again. We have to come to the place where we truly get it that what he wants for us is GOOD (as you pointed out, it seems easier to believe for eternity than to trust his goodness now). To some degree, for the committed Christian anyway, our resistance to His will reveals that we do not really believe it is good—at least not the kind of “good” we want. Good stuff, friend.

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