I woke up last night feeling extremely anxious. I’m not sure if it was the sudden noise outside which jolted me awake, but there I lay, in the middle of the night, eyes wide open, my thoughts racing. It’s in moments like this I find it hard to hold my peace.
Halfway between sleep and awake, I usually start playing out yesterday’s happenings. Thoughts like, “Why did I do that?” or “What did they mean?” paralyze me.
For years, I used to lay there, utterly miserable, sure that I would wake up with a morning-after hangover. My thoughts in the night keep me over-processing, believing I might think my way out of this. Nope. It’s not that easy. After years of this happening, I’ve learned the truth about my struggle. (Spoiler Alert: I’m going to give you a practical tool at the end.)
Have you ever asked the question, “If I’m following Christ, why do I still struggle?” or, “Is it normal to feel like I’m in a battle while following Jesus?” Whew! Me too. I’ve learned to ask, “Where is this battle coming from and is it coming from God, myself, or the devil?” Knowing its origin always gives me a better battle plan.
Here are a few battlegrounds we can find ourselves occupying.
Once we accept our new identities in Christ, our battles will most often originate from inside.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP)
I love how this verse reads: “He is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit].”
As soon as we receive Jesus, we become entirely new people. The Bible says our spirits suddenly become alive for the first time. If invited, the Holy Spirit will live inside of us. His primary purpose is to affirm what God is saying to us through his Word. We are reborn, born again!
But even with the Holy Spirit living in us, the Christian life is not always as easy as we assume. Have you ever felt as if it isn’t entirely working for you the way it is supposed to? Have you ever thought someone else got more God than you did? I know I have — but why? It’s because our minds, thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs must also be renewed. Yes! Our spirits want to agree with God, but our old lifestyles and habits of sin can trick us into believing we are not yet free. They lie to us.
Our quickest and most potent weapon, then, is to agree with truth. It really is that simple.
We need to ask ourselves, What does God say about me? If you know what He says, then you’ll know how to do battle with what’s coming out of the old you. It’s no wonder the Word says in John 8:32 (NIV),
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Sometimes the struggle merely happens because we live in a fallen world. Matthew 5:45 (NLT) says,
Your Father in Heaven… sends rain on the just and the unjust alike
which means no one is untouchable.
Each of our lives is and will be touched by pain, sickness, and death. Life happens. Evil persists. The Devil is real. The fact that we face hard things doesn’t always mean we are guilty of a specific crime.
Suffering only confirms that an active battle still separates us from God.
It’s important to remember, God doesn’t remove our power to choose good or evil. Our choice is vital to God’s supernatural eco-system because without choice there is no such thing as real love. Everyone must have an authentic opportunity to choose Him or to choose evil. And sometimes this means other people will choose evil. We have no power over other people’s choices.
Many of our battles are the results of people’s wrong decisions, as they give themselves over to Satan’s darkness. Their decisions have consequences that affect us no matter how much we are relying on God’s guidance.
So whether our struggles are internal or external, what are we to do when faced with them? We make a conscious choice to partner with the truth. We can ask Holy Spirit, “What are You saying to me?” and “What do I need to know in the darkness?”
Last night, in the middle of my battle, I heard Him speak to me. “Havilah, you are enough, what you have is enough, and you have all you need.” It was like a breath of fresh air. Reciting this truth in my head, over and over, letting the words sink deep below the surface. “Yes, I am enough! I have ALL I need and what I have is enough. Everything You gave me is working perfectly on the inside of me.” Suddenly there was peace.
I didn’t wake up feeling tired from the mental battle but refreshed in the truth that was handed to me the night before. I woke up stronger.
Original devotion by Havilah Cunnington for Devotionals Daily, copyright Havilah Cunnington.
* * *
Are you partnering with the truth? In those midnight battles, it’s easy to aim low and ask the wrong questions, but it will leave us exhausted and without peace. Today, let’s choose God in the midst of battles! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
Stronger than the Struggle
Normal Price: $16.99
FaithGateway Price: $11.89