Free To Struggle

“Hallelujah we are free to struggle, we’re not struggling to be free.” This is a line from the song The Struggle by Tenth Avenue North. When I first heard this song, I didn’t understand what it meant. Now, it is a beautiful phrase that describes my life in this world with Jesus as my savior.

I’ve been learning a lot these past couples weeks, hence the constant posting. I learned one very interesting thing from a counselor I went to yesterday. He was telling me that the most people who become sex addicts are CEOs, big wigs, and people who are highly decorated. He further explained that the reason for this is because they are searching for relational intimacy and they try to find that in a place that people don’t get to see: the bedroom. 

As I heard that, my heart broke and I started to cry because I thought about how God loves us so much and wants intimacy with us, and specifically how He loves me. Since yesterday, I’ve seen how my desire for relational intimacy has impacted me. I so strongly seek relationships with people to have that intimacy. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to seek intimacy with people, but they can’t be my source of it nor can they be where I find validation.

I’m always fighting this desire to run to people and I have to keep reminding myself of the promises and truths that God has given to me. It’s a constant battle against the flesh. The flesh desires to be in relationship with people, but my inner being needs to be intimate with God. I understand that I will never be done fighting sin, temptation, the flesh or the world until Jesus returns and calls us home. Until then, it is a struggle, but it is a holy struggle. Praise God that I struggle because that means His Spirit is in me. If I wasn’t in a relationship with Him and didn’t have His Spirit, I wouldn’t be able to struggle I would just submit to sin (Romans 8:5-8). A verse after that (Romans 8:9a) says “You, however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you…”

If you are struggling with anything right now, praise God because without Him you wouldn’t be able to.

So once again “Hallelujah! We are free to struggle, we’re not struggling to be free!” 

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Grace Like A River

Are there any wounded hearts present tonight? Of course there are. We are all wounded and deeply afflicted. Afflicted by sin which leaves the deepest scar of separation from our perfect, holy and loving God. There is not a soul on earth that is not impacted by this tragedy, yet there is an answer to it all which redeems sinfulness and turns it into life: grace.

I don’t think you can write too much about this topic especially when talking about God’s grace. It is so deep that the Apostle Paul describes it in this way:

“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more”

-Romans 5:20b

It doesn’t matter how deeply sin runs because you can’t out-sin His grace. We know that we are loved because “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

This tragic separation is now repaired and leads to a beautiful marriage of wicked people to a holy God:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

-Romans 8:14-16

So we have this saving grace and the Holy Spirit in us that testifies with our spirit that we are His children, but the world still hurts and we are impacted by the sinfulness that is still left to ravage the world. We are justified (declared righteous) before God because of Christ’s work on the cross. Now, the Spirit is in us to continually work in us the process of sanctification (making us holy). It is a process that is why Paul has prayers like Ephesians 1:17-19a, Ephesians 3:14-21, and Colossians 1:9-14. There are many more, but look at what Paul is asking God to give to these churches (seriously go read it). Paul asks that Ephesians church would know God and the hope they’ve been given better. He asks that the Colossian church would know His will through all wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

While we have been given redemption, we haven’t fully received it yet (1 Peter 1:4b-5; starting with “This inheritance…”). Continually, we are called by God to rely on His grace and love when we sin (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51; Psalm 32) and when this world causes us pain (Hebrews 12:7-13; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 62:5-8).

So when your heart is hurt, lean and press into Him because He can handle it and He will surely care for you (Matthew 6:25-34). Does He not receive glory when you run to Him? When you proclaim that God has healed you in your hurt and brokenness, does He not receive praise? Go to Him in your brokenness the same way a child goes to his parents in helpless surrender. Do not hold anything back because Jesus Himself said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Just run. Run as fast as you can into the river of grace that flows from Calvary. There is no need to cleanse yourself beforehand because the purpose of the river is to heal. In your brokenness, despair, anguish, hurtfulness, and sinfulness go to Him in total abandonment of self and repentance and drink deeply from that river of grace. This, too, is how God receives glory: not only when we serve and obey and sacrificially love, but also when we surrender and confess and repent and turn to Him. So if you are hurting, glorify God this day by running to Him and drinking from the wonderful river of grace.