Sometimes I’m ashamed of my struggles. They make me feel like a fool, powerless. Have you ever felt that way?
“I shouldn’t be struggling with this… I know better than this,” I tell myself. Or, I somehow subconsciously convince myself that simply acknowledging the struggle, and confessing it to God, will suddenly make it go away—as if that was the point of it all.
But in thinking that way, I’ve missed something. I’ve missed what the point really is.
God is gracious. I prayed a prayer about a month or so ago, not realizing then the full implications of it being answered. “God, show me what’s in my heart.” He did. He still is.
I thought the answer to that prayer would be that God would open my eyes to the sins I had committed that day, or what I was struggling with at that moment, so that I could confess it right then and move on, leaving it behind me. Oh, naivety. What God had in mind was much bigger than that. And while that prayer has been answered over a longer period of time than I had expected, and the things that God has been revealing to me have been painful to face, I’m thankful. I’m humbled and amazed at the love that God has for me, to show me the deep-seated sins, struggles, issues, idols, hurts, hopes, dreams, and desires within my heart, many of which I was not aware were there, or whose presence I did not want to acknowledge. He has shown me yet again how much I need Him—how much I need Him to forgive the sin. Give strength to fight the struggles. Reveal the truth about the issues. Dethrone the idols. Heal the hurts. Hold the hopes and dreams and desires, and help leave them in His hands, entrusting them to Him.
I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been tempted to think it’s too exhausting to keep confessing the sin, keep fighting the struggle, keep seeing the truth, keep casting down the idols, keep giving my heart, and all it hopes and dreams for, back to God—for Him to do with as He pleases, trusting what He does will be good because He loves me. I’ve been tempted to give up, to give in. To things like doubt, fear, jealousy. Feeling inadequate. Comparing myself to others.
It would be easy if I thought or felt those things, and said, “I’m sorry, God, please forgive me,” and then never thought or felt them again. It would be easy to realize I really want something I don’t have, that I’m bitter over not having it, confess it to God, and never want it again. But that usually doesn’t happen. Does He forgive our sin when we ask? Absolutely. 1 John 1:9 tells us so. But does He take away the desire from us at the snap of a finger? No. It’s our job to resist temptation, to put off the old and put on the new, to put to death the desires of the flesh. Will He help us? Yes. But it takes willingness and hard work on our part.
And the beautiful thing is, that as we continue to wage that war, the flesh gets a little bit weaker and weaker on that point, until we struggle with it hardly at all. I can look back on times where certain sin seemed so imminent, felt impossible to overcome. But over time, God gave the victory. Some of the things that were my biggest struggles are just about non-issues now. That comforts me, and gives me courage to fight the things I face today. It took hard work then, and it’ll take hard work now. But victory is in sight.
What brings God more glory? Confessing a sin and never struggling with that specific thing again, or continuing to confess a sin we keep falling into, no matter how good it feels, or how hard it is to fight? I’m leaning towards the latter.
You see, if I could so easily overcome, it would be tempting to think I’ve done so in my own strength. But it’s humbling to realize how feeble I am, how strong my flesh is, how convincing the lies are that my heart is tempted to believe. It’s humbling to come before my Father with the same sin I just committed two minutes ago, asking Him to forgive me yet again. It’s humbling to acknowledge to Him that I’m trying to hold onto that desire I just surrendered to Him. And yet it is awe-striking and worship-compelling to remember that He’ll forgive every time. He’ll take that desire back every time. He’s never going to leave me, get sick of me, give up on me. He’s got ahold of me, and He’s never letting go.
It takes making a choice, sometimes over and over and over again, to confess; to let go. Oh, that I would choose, each time, to believe that God is worthy of my love and obedience—a choice that compels me to confess the sin, combat the lies, and embrace the truth, time and time again. A choice that says, “God, I love You more than I love my sin. I love You more than even the seemingly best things my heart could long for, love You enough to be content to go without them, because You are more than enough for me.” A choice that believes that that’s true, and revels in that reality.
God, You are more than enough. My soul is satisfied in You. In the moments that it’s not, I will keep fighting, because You are worthy.