And you think you can take me down?

So, I was thinking…what does it take for me to feel like my life is full today? What is my weapon against Satan’s assault of envy-laden thoughts? What do I do with them?

Do I think other thoughts, do I attempt to try to tear apart the ones I don’t want ruling my life? I’ve tried the latter many times and I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t work. When we face a temptation, if we want to win, we don’t try to take it down by merely telling ourselves the reasons why we don’t want it.

I don’t know about you, but the reason why I face temptation in that moment is because there is a part of me that does want it. A part that will not back down unless another part of me is made to rise above it.

But how is the God-revering part of you and I capable of rising up and performing a conquest in the face of temptation? It is not. Instead, with our spirits we wait upon the One who gives us life and hope. We count on His faithfulness because we know He has already made the conquest of Satan and our flesh. We have no need of achieving any new victories on our own. Instead, we recognize that His victory spans every fight we will ever face.

And, we use this knowledge as our confidence. It is the one weapon we raise. Yet, how do we raise it? First, we remind ourselves that God is in the temptation with us. So we turn our attention on Him. We do not look to ourselves, counting on our strength to carry us through. Neither do we become discouraged because we believe our weakness must assure us of a loss in this contest.

That is not the case for us who are in Christ. He is our victory. We is the One who makes our weakness a joy because, with a dependence on His strength, we can obtain a greater victory than we could have on our own.

In Him our stubborn sinful nature is put to death, while our frail God-fearing nature is made strong. Therefore, we have nothing to fear in the fight. We have only to position ourselves to receive from God the grace that will carry us through and establish us in His wisdom and power. In this way, God enables us to face temptations so that we will be made more like Himself in the tussle.

Difficult encounters of the God kind

I know a few things about life. I know what I want–at least in terms of all the things I don’t want. But, do I really know much more than that? Have I really been around enough–experienced enough of what the Word of God declares is good for me–to be able to confidently judge such things?

I have conflicts with God over what is best for me–yet on what grounds can I charge Him with wrong? Error does not find a place in Him, neither does impotence taint His incomprehensible ambitions for redeeming me. So, how can I find fault with Him?

The only plausible conclusion is that I have a zeal for goodness and grace, but very weak form of knowledge regarding how it comes. I want what I have not known; and grow impatient and angry when it doesn’t appear in the rigidly bold fonts I imagined it.

So, is there really a problem with what I am encountering, or am I the problem that is being encountered by the goodness and grace of God?

Is this fair enough for you?

I don’t know a lot about what makes life fair, but that subject has been on my mind a lot this past month. I have sat comparing the condition of one friend against another, one’s range of blessings versus others’ depth of pain. I ask indignantly, Why do some lives seem bombarded by suffering so intensely, while others appear to steadfastly experience abundance in ways that the other could never imagine?

These are questions I don’t have the answers to; this is the sum of a matter too deep for negligible experience to dispel. Yet, my discomfort with these mysteries is a chance to be humbled by a God that need not explain to me His every nuance.

Not that God is at fault for things like world hunger, and extreme personal suffering, but He does absolutely rule over these things, and often not in ways that I can understand.

I want simple responses to big questions. I come to God with the hope that He will make the problems that I see small enough for me to stand above, rather than stretching my faith to recognize that He is standing above everything that I do not.

I utter complaints about the world around me, believing He’ll get behind my judgments on the obvious disorder around me, and set the world straight. Yet, rather than blighting the fruits of error that I can’t stand, He points out the great, big root of it so mercilessly growing up and out of my own heart — so long it wraps around the vital organ, so strong it cripples a beat that I trust as the standard of every other rhythm.

Clearly I’m a wreck, and not as proficient at judging the world around me as I thought. Instead of sticking to what I think I know, I have to stand on faith — relying upon Him who sets me right, and not on me, who only gets in His way.

For, it is when I commit myself to trusting Him who makes both my faith and vision sure, I find that my heart is set to the beat of His own heart. And the tempo of Him I love more than life rising from the deepest places of my soul, I recognize that if He resolved this fairness issue according to my heart, I would face a more bitter reality: I would be completely deprived of knowing Him in this rare way because I am not perfect.