Growth Opportunities

Dislike.  As a Christian, that word is supposed to be exclusive to sin.  I know that.  I know deceit of the enemy influences those around me to behave in ways that put my growth in Jesus to the test.  I believe that.  Knowing and believing has not kept me from having urges to retaliate to those attacks today.

 

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Romans 7:14-25

I find myself in the same struggle that Paul had.  My desire is to attack those who attack me.  To come to my own defense and point out the 57 ways they are wrong and use great detail and colorful adjectives to describe the lack ground they are standing on.  I have the desire to be my own advocate … but that is not what God has taught me.  And thus begins the struggle.

This is a lesson I keep learning over and over with different circumstances, different people, different places.  I am reminded that God is my protector, and as one of His children He will not let me be crushed under the oppression.  I take comfort that even Paul went through this same struggle … and had victory through Christ!

As I have allowed the Spirit to counsel me, I am seeing things more clearly.  The person who is attacking me is the one who I have a duty to pray for.  That is one of many ways we are transformed as followers.  Just as Jesus prayed for those who crucified him, we are to pray for those who condemn us.  Although lies and manipulation pour out of a person, that doesn’t mean they understand what they are doing or even why.

A person who does not know Christ is unaware of the spiritual battle that is raging within.  In contrast, I am aware of this battle, hence the relating to Paul in doing what is wrong even when I want to do what is right.  Thankfully there is a faithful God who is urging me towards seeing with His eyes.  To see the truth of a lost soul that is attacking me on the outside, but who spiritually is treading on a path that leads only to destruction.  It is irrelevant what is thrown my way by someone of this world.  The relevance lies in the reality of a lost soul being right in front of me, and whether I choose to seek God’s path of turning the other cheek; or, choosing to see the surface deceit the enemy has painstakingly crafted in the attempt to keep that person in bondage.  In choosing the latter, I would also choose to invite deceit into my own heart.

I choose to follow God and follow the example set for me by Christ.

Lord, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to to have this person in my life.  I thank you for revealing to me the truth of salvation, and for showing me the lost soul that stands before me.  I pray that they would have the truth revealed in a way that cannot be denied.  I pray Lord that you would impress upon me a heart that stays firm in your desire for this person to have eternal salvation.  I pray that you would use me in any capacity to lead them to you.  Lord, I thank you for the honor of being a part of a plan that can impact even one life.  In your holy name I pray.  Amen.

Mrs. Thomas

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