“For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerful works within me.”
To live is to struggle.
I have yet to encounter a season of life that didn’t contain some sort of struggle. Whether it be financial, relational, emotional, spiritual, or mental there has been struggle.
There isn’t a human who has ever walked the earth who has not struggled. Jesus, the perfect human, God in the flesh, struggled.
However, I find myself avoiding struggle. I’m prone to dodge it like my children dodge my request for them to go brush their teeth. In my attempts to dodge struggle, I specifically find myself avoiding the things I know will cause it. Things that may be hard. Things that cause me to press beyond my own abilities and wit. Things that may lead to conflict.
I am prone to avoid conversations, conflict, and relationships that may lead to difficult situations and conversations. I avoid discomfort.
I avoid God.
I am prone to avoid His commands, His gentle nudges of grace and even His presence that I know will convict me, confront me, and even challenge me to change.
Life is toil.
Knowing God and serving God can lead us into a life of toil. A life of challenge. A life of struggle.
Paul states it in Colossians 1:29 that the toil before him is a struggle that's empowered by the very energy of God. When God calls us into struggle, it's for a purpose. He designed struggle to produce life within us. As hard as it is to believe, contained within struggle are the seeds of goodness and glory. Our good, the good of others, and the glory of God.
But He doesn't leave us to struggle alone. Not only does He meet us in the struggle, He empowers the struggle with His own strength.
Who am I to avoid God. I’m a man made by Him and for Him. I’m a piece of moldable clay in the hands of the potter. At least I desire to be. I desire to walk with Him no matter the struggle. I desire to press into relationship with Him and HIs word and to feel the “rush of HIs awful holiness.”
When discomfort and struggle arise, it is my hope that I would be a man who would cry out in complete abandon and utter despair in order to have my life renewed and “my heart touched, purged, and inflamed by the live coal from God’s altar.” (E.M. Bounds)
Although it is counter intuitive to draw near to a consuming fire, the nearness of God is good to me. His fiery presence consumes sin, destroys yokes, removes shame, empowers weakness, and conquers death.
His powerful presence is the energizing force that causes me to struggle well.
I want to be a man that does the hard things, by His means and His power, for His glory.