[Long post warning]
Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh.
Have you ever been there?
Have you felt the call to do something grand, but completely questioned that calling because it went against the social norm, your personal plans, or what would be considered acceptable by your loved ones?
Have you ever committed to a move you were compelled by God to make, only to then struggle with anxiety over that very decision?
I have also gone directly against the Spirit that God has placed within me, because I care so greatly for my own desires, my own pleasure, my own comfort, my own future plans, my possessions.…in culmination, my flesh. In fact, I do this more often then I care to admit. I fail often. I fall short, and not just by a little bit; I completely miss the mark.
It’s a constant struggle; a war that takes place within me. My heart desires the One that has saved me and given me life, life abundant. I want to live in His Spirit, His strength, the plans that He has for my time on this earth, fulfilling whatever purpose He has created me for. Seriously, whatever purpose He has for me, l want that. I want to live in the promises He has made. I want to experience His love every day. I want to seek Him with all that I have: heart, soul, mind, and strength.
[But my flesh] My flesh pulls me in every direction that opposes what God has for me. My flesh longs for the things of this world. I care so much for me. I care so much about what I want to do, that I oppose the one I know to be King of Kings, Lord, and Savior. My middle name should be Jonah; scratch that, my first name.
Do you know what takes place each and every time my flesh wins a battle? Prior to my flesh claiming momentary victory, I remove my eyes from the cross. I turn my back on my Savior. I choose to ignore the great love that has been shown to me. That very love we celebrate Easter weekend, the love we celebrate every time we gather with fellow believers, the love we embrace when we chase after His heart. I temporarily dismiss that great love. HOW DO I DO THAT!
The answer is that I am human, I live in a sin filled world plagued with temptation, and the constant message that I should serve myself as I please. Too often, however, I hear those professing Christ using this as a crutch for lifestyle choices unbecoming of children of the King. This is not a crutch. The world that we live in is to be the motivation for us to live for Christ. To choose the love of the cross, day in and day out. To set ourselves apart, that others might come to know His extravagant love. We must not remove our eyes from His great love. The cross changes everything.
Every decision we make is our opportunity to choose Christ over ourselves; our chance to look to the cross and recognize the beauty of His great love, His great character, His heart. How can we best reflect the image of Christ to the people around us? The book of Romans talks about how our offering up of ourselves to God, in every aspect of life, is our true and proper worship. If we know Him, we will be obedient. We will pursue Him daily, and our lives’ work will be to make Him known. Easter weekend is not to be the one time of year when we proclaim the majesty of our Savior, the great love that He has for each of us, and the fact that He LIVES. That is what our lives are to be about.
The love that is constantly shown to me by my Father, my Savior, is not something I should easily lose sight of. His love never fades. His love never fails. That love is to be my daily desire. To grow closer to Jesus, my only priority.
Side Note: I need prayer. Why is that so hard for us to share at times? I can talk to a room full of people, and when it comes time to pray, no one has any prayer needs? Don’t we all know people who do not have relationship with God? Don’t we all know someone in a bad family situation, someone hurting, someone facing major hardship? Don’t we have reason to thank God? The Body of Christ is for doing life together. Let’s actually do that.
My current situation: I know that God is going to use my friend Matt and I in Puerto Rico this upcoming summer. I know that God is going to work in and through the Christian camp we are interning with, and every person that comes into the camp. He’s been doing a work in my life these past months, like never before. For those of you who don’t know, interning on an island had not been in my playbook for this upcoming summer. As an engineering student, the summer before your senior year is ultimately roped off and reserved for an engineering internship. This is where you get the experience every employer looks for post graduation. This is what the majority of discussion in future interviews revolves around. I planned on having that.
Last summer while I was at the camp, I experienced a peace, a calmness I could not ignore. I remember exactly where I was standing. It was surely the Holy Spirit. I have never felt anything like it. This tranquility, along with encounters I had during those two weeks, grew an assurance in me for the need to return. I was thrilled when I was told the opportunity was mine to work there this summer.
Since then, I have felt confident in this decision. I know that this is where God wants me to be. I know this is where I want to be. But my flesh is so flawed. As I hear of friends applying and receiving engineering internships with solid pay, that look great on a résumé, I have this unwarranted jealousy inside of me. I’m going to the exact place where I know God wants me, and will use me, and my Spirit is ecstatic! Yet somehow the longings of my flesh, this unnecessary concern for the future, still has a hold on me. I want that to be removed.
I know my God to be the Ultimate Provider. He has opened doors I could never have opened on my own. He has made a way when there was no way. He has opened my eyes to His love. I know the promises He has made for me, and for each of us, and I want to claim those in my life. I am excited that He made a way for this opportunity in Puerto Rico. I am excited for the ways He will direct me and guide me after my final year in engineering school. Where He will take me I don’t know, but I know that He will make a way. My prayer is that I will rest in the confidence of His greatness. My prayer is that each of us would step out in faith. My prayer is that you would respond to the call that God has on your life. We have no reason to be anxious, He has promised to provide. Even the birds are provided for!
Other Side Note: When I was younger, God wanted me in Mexico. I chased after the things I wanted instead (namely baseball), even when it was clear He wanted me there. The next year I had an injury that kept me from playing baseball, and I was on the mission team bound for Mexico. My life was forever changed there. My life has been changed in Puerto Rico. My life has been changed by every person I’ve encountered. My life has been changed in working with the youth group. I want my life to be full of change, change that draws me closer to the heart of God.
I am thankful for the way He moves.
I pray that we be inundated with His love.
Let our flesh be overcome by the Spirit that lives within us. Let our eyes be fixed on our Savior.
What this world has to offer is of no comparison to what is freely given through Jesus Christ.