Monday, July 21, 2014

More Than Words

I've been going through this season of struggle.  With all my heart I've wanted to know a greater power of God in my practice, to really experience truth in my daily living.  In some areas I have.  Others not.   

I recently drove over Douglas Pass, returning my daughter home from orchestra camp.  As we bridged the mountain crest, ready to come down the other side, the radio began a song I dearly love, ''I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of Angel Armies, is always by my side."  (Chris Tomlin)  Shifting down to low gear, the truck hugging each hairpin curve, all of us began singing along with this song. 

As we sang, I thought of this.  Angel Armies, that's a lot of power!  If the God of Angel Armies is for me, why don't I experience more of His power in my life?  Why is it such a struggle to appropriate His Word in practical living? 

I look at the secular world, and they often seem to have a greater hold on discipline, confidence, and ability than many Christians.  We do much lip service to God's strength, but it seems to go no further. 

Over the last two weeks, something has become very clear to me, and it is also the reason I haven't written any new posts recently.

I've been fighting.  Hard.  Obsessively.  Relentlessly.  And as a result, there is a little less of me.  Three months ago, I never dreamed it possible.  You might ask, "How is that any different than self-discipline or will power which the world promotes?"  My answer is, that I've tried their way and it has failed me every time.  Even when my spirit is willing, my flesh is weak.  I need God's power in my life as I seek to honor Him with my body.  It is a spiritual battle. 

Not only am I learning to fight, but I'm also realizing the value of another word . . . consistency.   The fighting is pointless if I am not committed to the long haul, to lifestyle change.   This is not a journey that ends when I reach a certain number.  It goes on for a lifetime. 

In the Scriptures I read of David's mighty men. (2 Sam. 23)  Here is a group who knows how to fight! They knew what it was to endure, to suffer, to ignore pain and trudge forward to accomplish a goal.  And I think I found my answer.

To overcome, I must not only pray, lean hard into God, and surrender to His way, but also engage.  Though God is the one who fights for me, I must apply myself to His truth so it can be known in my experience.

Only yesterday, I talked to a woman who is also fighting hard.  Cancer threatens her life, but she refuses to yield to its power and God is giving her great strength.  She encouraged me with these words, that "it's as if God is slashing back and forth with His sword, resisting the disease, one day at time."  But live or die, she has chosen to rest in God's will for her life.  The praise on her lips is her fight.  And she is fighting well. 

God does not always chose to heal.  He is not magic which we control, for He is in charge.  However, because I have placed my faith in Him, I am one of His own, which changes everything.  He gives me purpose, the will to fight, and His ever present grace, that undeserved favor always ready to catch me in open arms, drawing me close to His heart.  Even if I falter, I know His love remains strong.

Yet, I don't want to be stagnant with apathy, singing of grace, when God would have me go further.  This is why I seek to take faith beyond words.  I want it living in my life, to know God's presence, His fulness of joy even in the ordinary. 

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