This year has been bloody for me. I’ve been battered and bruised. I’ve been dirtied and sweaty. War is ugly – that’s the reality of it. And the war I’ve been fighting has been one that the Lord has graciously brought to my attention so that His glory could be demonstrated.
It is the war against the greatest enemies that we are warned about in Scripture (James 1:14-16; 1 Peter 5:8; Romans 7:5-13). It is the war against the flesh, satan & sin.
I am learning that when I use the term “struggle” in relation to sin tendencies in me, I really need to label it what it is. It is war. It is combat. Perceiving the depth of the implication of sin and the vastness that it encompasses, it should be labeled nothing less. The word “struggle” softens the blow in these battles against habitual sins – perhaps connoting fluffiness in some instances, as if the struggle isn’t that bad and it’s not affecting anything else in your life.
But we all know that it does, doesn’t it? We all know that sin in one area of life affects so much more than that one area. It bleeds across the boundaries of our pretty compartmentalized lives and has effects on our relationships with God and with other people, whether we perceive it or not.
For me, my big habitual sin that I’m constantly asking forgiveness of my kids and husband for is anger. Yelling is the biggest symptom of it so that’s often my cue for repentance and confession. It’s not something I’m proud of, it’s something I’ve been laboring in sweat and tears through prayer and repentance – back and forth – to overcome this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not this Incredible Hulk who’s constantly smashing things and grunting out my frustration. Far from that, but there is a point in each week and sometimes each day (sadly, usually when my kids are non-stop fighting for the 500th time in half an hour) where my short fuse snuffs out and an explosion happens.
The good thing about battle, no matter how long, is that at some point one side loses. For me, I know God’s already got the victory in me (Romans 5; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:56-58)
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4-5
There’s peace knowing that I can trust Him with my transformation because I know that His Spirit lives in me and slowly changes me to reflect more of Him (Galatians 5:22-23).
For me, I see so much growth this year as I’ve focused on putting this sin to death. I’ve seen more patience & gentleness come out of my mouth before irritability. I’ve recognized when I’ve stopped to think, pray, and even just give thought to what my kids may be feeling at the time. I see evidence of change and that excites me.
It’s still something I am deeply in prayer about on a daily basis. Sin never goes away on this side of the battle hill, but I know it will go away forever at that crest on the ridge.