I was talking to my good friend the other morning. She’s struggling with something God has allowed into her life and was in a moment of exceptional pain because of it. She was telling me how she is failing to submit to God’s will in her suffering; that in her battling in her flesh she is not glorifying God. As I listened to her tell me her story through tears, I found myself pondering if this really means she has an unsubmissive heart.
I truly don’t think that struggling equals a lack of submission, but instead I think it is an indicator that she is striving to do exactly what God wants her to do!
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. Galatians 5:17 (NASB)
Ladies, I know that like my friend, many of you are in the midst of very difficult circumstances. You have heartaches and sorrows no one will ever know about. You are facing hard times, and you are in physical or emotional pain, or both. Your internal battle is fierce, and there are times you are not successful in overcoming the temptation to despair. You are weary from the war and cave into your emotions. Sometimes your emotions are expressed to others as anger, self-pity, or complaining. Other times, they stay with you and you wallow in your own miserable soup. Recognizing the struggle does not make you a failure.
Like the Apostle Paul, you struggle.
For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate…For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:15,19-20 (NASB)
The wrestling itself is often determined to be a failure. Failure to accept Gods will for your life, failure to submit, and failure to honor God. I won’t deny there are times that we fail to honor Him as we wrestle, but I’m not sure about this being true in every circumstance. There can be submission in the wrestling. God can receive much glorify as you wrestle through your own feelings, as you recognize your desire to respond sinfully, and as you repent when you fail to respond in righteousness.
…work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12b-13)
This entire process is a part of your sanctification. It is part of your conformation and transformation. It makes you long for home, for eternity, for Jesus. Do not be discouraged, my friends. God is at work in your hearts and lives. Keep fighting the good fight. One day we will see His face and the battle will be over.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21 (NASB)