Stronger Than the Struggle - Encouragement for Today - March 7, 2018

Havilah Cunnington

March 7, 2018
Stronger Than the Struggle
HAVILAH CUNNINGTON

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (AMP)

I woke up that night feeling extremely anxious.

Maybe it was the sudden noise outside which jolted me awake, but there I lay, eyes wide open, thoughts racing. It’s in moments like this I find it hard to hold my peace. Halfway between asleep and awake, I usually start playing out yesterday’s happenings. Thoughts like, Why did I do that? or, What did they mean? paralyze me.

For years I used to lay there, utterly miserable. Dreading the morning-after experience. My nighttime thoughts kept me over-processing, believing I might think my way out of this.

Nope. It's not that easy. After years of this happening, I’ve learned the truth about my struggle.

Have you ever asked the question, If I’m following Christ, why do I still struggle? or, Is it normal to feel like I'm in a battle while following Jesus?

Whew, me too. I've learned to ask, Where is this battle coming from … and is it coming from God, me or the devil? Knowing its origin always gives me a better battle plan.

Here are two battlegrounds we can find ourselves occupying:

Internal Battleground
As soon as we receive Jesus, we become entirely new people. The Bible says our spirit suddenly becomes alive for the first time, and the Holy Spirit lives inside us, able to affirm what God says to us through His Word. We are reborn … born again!

Today’s key verse confirms this,“He is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But even with the Holy Spirit residing inside, the Christian life is not always easy.

Ever felt like life isn’t entirely working for you the way it’s supposed to? Or thought someone else got more God than you did? I know I have — but why? It’s because our minds, thoughts, attitudes and beliefs must also be renewed. Yes! Our spirits want to agree with God, but our old lifestyles and sinful habits can trick us into believing we’re not yet free. They lie.

The most potent weapon, then, is to agree with truth. It's that simple. We need to ask ourselves, What does God say about me? If you know what He says, then you’ll know how to do battle with what’s coming out of the old you. It's no wonder the Word says in John 8:32"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (NIV).

External Battleground
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45b, NIV).

Sometimes the struggle merely happens because we live in a fallen world. Which means no one is untouchable. Each of our lives is touched by pain, sickness and death. Life happens. Evil persists. The devil is real. The fact that we face hard things doesn’t always mean we’re guilty of a specific crime. Suffering only confirms that an active battle still separates us from God.

God doesn’t remove our power to choose good or evil. Our choice is vital to God’s supernatural eco-system, because without choice there’s no such thing as real love. We each have an authentic opportunity to choose Him or choose evil. And sometimes this means other people choose evil. We can’t control other people’s choices. Many battles are the results of people’s wrong decisions, as they give themselves over to Satan’s darkness. Their decisions have consequences that affect us no matter how much we rely on God’s guidance.

So whether we struggle internally or externally, what are we to do? Let’s remember we make a conscious choice to partner with truth. We can ask the Holy Spirit, What are You saying to me? and What do I need to know in the darkness? Then, the truth will set us free.

Lord, thank You that I’m stronger than anything I face today because You are helping me! Help me partner with Your truth and what You say about me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (NIV)

John 3:3, “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Looking for practical resources to help understand your spiritual battle? Pick up Havilah Cunnington’s brand new book, Stronger Than The Struggle: Uncomplicating Your Spiritual Battle.

CONNECT:
Join Havilah and thousands of others around the world at her kitchen table at www.TruthtoTable.com.

Enter to WIN a copy of Stronger Than The Struggle by Havilah Cunnington. In celebration of this book, Thomas Nelson will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, March 12, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ask yourself, Where is my battle coming from … is it internal or external? If it’s internal, ask God where you can partner with Him in truth. If it’s external, ask Him to protect your heart in the battle.

© 2018 by Havilah Cunnington. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Thomas Nelson for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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