My biggest struggle/stronghold is _____________.
After identifying the “thing” that plagues us, that which is our greatest personal demon, we are challenged to envision life free of this struggle:
How would my life look if I no longer struggled with _______? What if I was completely free from ______ through Christ’s power…(Put your struggle/stronghold in the blank) *Try to give some very specific ways your life would be different if you no longer struggled with your above named stronghold*
The answer has not come easily. At first I thought it’s my critical nature, or my tendency to over analyze things. But after much internalizing I’ve decided that’s part of what God’s actively using in me as I study scripture and I’m embracing that part of my nature – I don’t desire to be free from it. Maybe it’s my tendency to “beat myself up” for my shortcomings…but I’m doing much better there, so I decided that’s not really the demon I am struggling with.
I finally concluded that my struggles are with a variety of little demons all belonging to my struggle with impatience. The little demons are intolerance, judgment, self-righteousness and the desire for justice based on my convictions of right and wrong. My impatience is like that of Rebekah. While she was still pregnant God told her she was going to have twins, and “the older will serve the younger.” Later she conspired to fool her husband Isaac to ensure his blessing went to her favorite, the younger son. Did God really need her help in fulfilling His will? Clearly not. Rebekah was impatient.
In today’s search for an answer, I was touched by this command from Psalm 37: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” And these Proverbs offer great guidance:
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11)
“Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15)
In Galatians we are told “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:22-26)
As Paul and Timothy prayed for the Colossians, that we may have a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that we may have great endurance and patience. We are called to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
I envision my life without wasting energy fretting about things I can’t control, poisoning the air with vented emotions that do nothing to bring us closer to His kingdom. In peace and serenity I would focus on the positive, offering gentle words of wisdom. Given insight into God’s plans, I picture myself enjoying the journey rather than trying to speed things along.
Lord, as you are patient with me, let me be patient with others–not wanting anyone to perish but for all to come to you. Help me to reflect the light of your saving grace, to be a guidepost for others.