*This post was originally published on my initial blog on May 30, 2014. I am in the process of migrating my content from Blogger and appreciate the patience as I do so!
Lately, I’ve been really struggling with the aspect of self. Namely, I’ve been struggling with the concept of giving up that “self” for all that Christ has for me. Sound familiar?
We all have that inner battle: “My Way or God’s Way?” I could tell you that God’s Way is always better, but I have a feeling you already know that. If your anything like me, you’re somewhere between the knowing and consistently doing stage.
It could be something as small as the choice to put down the phone at the mall and focus on smiling and greeting those you walk past. Oftentimes, the greatest struggle of our will is on the internal level. Here, we’re talking about the essence of our character. Do we choose to honor God in business or academics? Or do we take the shortcuts that we can rationalize as “ok” because everyone else is doing it?
As I mentioned, I’ve been struggling with choosing God’s will over my own as well. I so often want to control things, barricade myself behind a wall of resolute perfection, but that only draws me further from the love and joy of the father. That’s why I have truly taken Galatians 2:20 to heart, which says: “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. And the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Wow! Powerful stuff, right? I mean, “crucified” is a pretty strong word. And it’s there for a reason. I’ve been learning through application that there is no partial surrender to Christ. I either go for the full-on bloody crucifixion or I choose myself over God, my will over his. We need to take a hatchet to these sinful desires!
The best place to start is on your knees though—not on the battlefield. We cannot win this war alone. We are not able to simply will ourselves to wholeness in Christ. While much effort is required, our effort is in vain if we are focusing on our problem of selfishness rather than Christ. Focus on the Father; confess to Him that you can’t do it on your own and need His help.
I can tell you from experience that there’s no quick solution to the battle of the fleshly will, but every time we choose God over us, we are drawing further from that sin and closer to Him. It isn’t easy, but it’s a whole lot easier than attempting to break free on our own, only to collapse in a heap of self-condemnation and failure.
I once heard it said that God knows the moment that we will commit “that sin” for the last time. He knows the last time you will give in to addiction, cheat on a spouse, starve your body, cheat on a test—He knows the last time you will give in to that habitual sin of the flesh. So the next time you are faced with the battled: My Way or God’s Way—whether it’s a habitual sin or not—picture the creator of the universe smiling over you, because He knows you are one step closer to being free. Chances are, this focus on Him and not you, will fuel your desire to fight against the devil and win one more moment for Christ.