It seems like I’ve been on this Christian journey for as long as I can remember. The older I have become the more important pleasing Abba (my Heavenly Father) has become to me. So when I came across Romans 7:15 in my studies I had to pause and shed tears to discover I am not alone in my pursuit to live within His will. Tell me, does this scripture speak to you?
I can anticipate the response that is coming: “I know that all God’s commands are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also your experience?” Yes. I’m full of myself—after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s prison. What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time (Romans 7:15-20 MSG).
It is indeed a powerful testimony and scripture filled with so many truths for many who read it (including me). Like Paul, the author of this scripture, I have become more and more aware of times of disobedience (sin). In the past I would hide from God and feel ashamed but that is what Satan wants me to do. Now I know that hiding in shame is not what God wants (Isaiah 59:1) and not how I will overcome.
I have come to realize that thoughts and temptations that are contrary to my Father’s will and His Word are ever present but the key is to NOT let it take control. Dr. Joyce Meyers calls it a “battlefield of the mind.” And, from the way things have been going….I would have to agree.
So, if this is war….war for my heart and mind. War for my soul. I intend to fight!! Fight not in my own might but with the power within me through Christ. So here’s my war strategy:
- Know who and whose I am. Boy do I have an identity crisis. In my search to know who I was I never took the time to really connect whose I was….Abba’s child. It was not until I searched beyond the words and religious sentiments that I began to have an awareness of my true identity.
- Submit myself to God. All that I am and all that I want to be is in God’s hand. I am fully devoted to being God’s servant.
- NEVER stop talking to God. Can I be really transparent right now? I am still working on talking to God. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to him. I pray. But, not nearly as much as I should….as I want to. There’s a peace when I release my heart to Him and I need that peace all day. Scripture says we should pray without ceasing (I Thessalonian 5:17). To me, that means always talking to God…when I am happy, grateful, disappointed, angry, hurt.
- Renew my mind. Reading scripture, devotionals, scripture inspired motivational books, fellowship, praise and worship are all ways in which I renew my mind. And, it never ceases to amaze me on the new understandings revealed to me each time I read the bible.
- Guard my heart and mind. I have to be careful not to store away all of the hurt and disappointment in life in my heart because out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
- Keep my mind set on these things. Scripture says we should “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). And, that is my exact plan. Each time my mind falls on something that is NOT true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, I purposefully switch my thoughts.
- Fall in Love with all things Eternal. My life as I know it now in this body is temporary but God has an eternal home for me. I sometimes marvel at some of God’s beautiful creations here on earth; however, I get even more excited at how beautiful my eternal home will be. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2). Have you taken a moment to think about it?
- Have faith in all that God is. Most importantly, I fully believe that all that God has promised He will fulfill.
Over the weeks to come, I will expand on each of the 8 strategies listed above. As always, it is my prayer that my testimony will bless someone with joy, enlightenment or encouragement.