Archive for October, 2012

despair in Spiritual warfare

Posted: October 23, 2012 in CE/Youth MInistry

Many times the term “Spiritual warfare” brings to mind a valiant “worker” casting out demons, or a common christian in an refusing the lies of Satan. Such things certainly are spiritual warfare. However, I do think the term is broader, for there are dangers besides the powers of Darkness, things besides Satan and his forces that are calling us to sin, such as what are commonly termed the “world” and the “flesh.” In fact, many of the references to a spiritual conflict, a fight of faith of some kind, are absent of a mention of Satan and his minions and focused more on Sin itself as the enemy, and Holiness in obedient union to Christ as the goal. The goal of Christian life is not victory over Satan, it is Sanctification. Satan could be totally wiped out and yet a propensity to sin, a heart not fully delighting in Christ and full of unbelief, remain. Satan is a lethal adversary, but his defeat alone is not the goal. It is the overcoming of all sin by the power of Christ. A goal which, admittedly, will never be fully reached in this life, but that is the goal nonetheless.
Many times we are very lazy in pursuing this one goal. We cleave to our old ways, we don’t walk by the Spirit. Often times there are reasons for this, we believe lies about the pleasure of sin, we don’t believe God about his way being the path to Joy. But there is another hindrance that I have found, one that keeps me down.  It comes on me strangely. I feel I believe that the path of sin is not beneficial, and that the path of holiness is more to be preferred. I despair because I believe that I will fail. I feel convinced that I will not make it, that I may have short bursts of energy but will always fall back into my old ways. This despair is strange, because I see little attraction to sin, besides the sin of unbelief, and I see that God’s way is better. I see it is better, but I don’t see it is possible.
What is the way out of this trap? Well, obviously if I had found the say out I would not be writing this post! But I think a number of things can help. First, I think that, perhaps, the fight to belive I am able to persevere may be a losing one. I need to believe in Christ’s strength, not my own. Second, I think it requires that we understand the need for community… Satan can lie to us that we cannot grow, and we think we are not denying God’s power because we are not denying his ability, but our own. But, in the end we are denying we cannot grow… and these lies are best called out by a community of believers. Lastly, I’d like to say that we need to be aware there is such a thing as spiritual inertia. We believe that it is too hard, but the more we move, the more we get into a rhythm. Lastly, we need to recognize the power of Worship. Praising God for who he is, no matter how we feel, transforms us into the people who are more God centered.

Many of us get caught in despair at our own abilities, and we sin when we are focused on our own abilities in the first place. It is there, that we go wrong, set our eyes on Christ and his power communicated to us through the Holy Spirit, and move from there.