Choosing the Fight

“…Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us EVEN MORE GRACE to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”James 4:4-6 

“This world is a battle.” I have seemingly heard these words all of my life. Sure sure I know that this is a dark and fallen world filled with sin, evil, death, and pain.  I’ve felt it. I’ve seen it. I’m a sinner among sinners. I have seen my sin and felt the consequences of my sin.

But not until just recently have I realized the extent and reach of this battle.  Not only is this world a battle- this battle is constantly at WAR FOR MY SOUL. And until I choose to fight back, I am choosing to live a life of apathy and complacency. As believers, we are covered by grace and we are made holy and blameless, not by ourselves, but through His sacrifice (2 Corinthians 3:5).

But until we see our sin, are disgusted by it, and humble ourselves before the Lord, we are choosing the world over Christ. THIS IS SO HARD. It is the most painful, pruning, weed-eating thing that I have ever felt to literally see my yuck sitting in front of me. As I was reading through this passage in James 4– I was trying to think practically of what it meant to humble myself before the Lord. “WHAT DOES THIS LOOK LIKE IN REAL LIFE, LORD? I want to love you and serve you and humble myself before you but what do I do?!”

You see, the Holy Spirit within us is “filled with envy (James 4:5) for our souls. When we choose to side with the world (choosing to sit in our sin and our worldly desires) vs choosing to stand against our sin and fight back– we are literally making ourselves “enemies of God,” and thus, the sin cycle continues as we are choosing by our own free will not to abide and draw close to the Lord, but to cling tight to the world instead.

But wait. Oh my goodness. The best news of all is that we can choose to fight back, and when we choose to humble ourselves before the Father, he gives us EVEN MORE GRACE to stand up against our sin and the battle that is at war for our souls in this world . EVEN MORE?! Yes. This is grace upon grace. When we choose to say:  here is my sin, I repent of this, and now I turn from this and want you, I want you Jesus to come fill this hole that I was using the world to fill instead of choosing you, He is right there. He has been there all along- patiently, lovingly drawing us to himself.

I am so thankful that I have a God that would be gracious enough to me that he would forever be teaching me. I have a newfound gratefulness for the way that God has redeemed me in the midst of the darkness and the pain and how he can turn something so awful as my own sin into something beautiful, something fruitful, something life giving, and all of this that His name may be lifted higher in this world.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.Great is his faithfulness;his mercies begin afresh each morning. {Lamentations 3:21-23} 

-Em

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