There are times as a follower of Christ when the spiritual warfare makes you simply weary. You are knocked down, slammed against the walls, your face is full of mud, you are battered and bruised and you have nothing left even to move one foot in front of another.
Just at the moment when you want to stop, to retreat, when you want to escape somewhere, anywhere where there are no problems, no conflicts, no pain, no sorrow, and no difficulty… that is the moment, the pivotal moment of choice. This is when we choose, by an act of our will which way our eyes will turn. Will they turn outward and grow fearful or bitter about the circumstances? Will they turn inward to self-pity or shame? Or will they fix upon the Author of Life, the Redeemer of the lost, to Christ and simply abide?
Ephesians tells us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (6:12) This war is much greater than the conflicts of man and circumstance. And this war is not pretty, nor is it easy and without personal risk.
Christ told us to “enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “ For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14) We can choose the comfortable, wide road, but it is a lie, an illusion, a mist that can never truly be grasped. Oh we may spare ourselves from the immediate problem, but the ultimate cost is great. But if we choose His way, we can be confident that “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom.8:28)
When we are faced with these choices, when we cry out for focus, when we choose Him over ourselves, we will begin to see the reality of who He is in a much clearer way. His faithfulness, His truth, His Holiness, His tenderness….the list is infinite. When we choose Him, by His mercy the eyes of our hearts are given richer sight to view our God for who He truly is…this is an amazing blessing of His grace. A gift given to those who seek after Him, (Jer. 29:13, Heb. 11:6) and for those who are willing to deny themselves, die to self, and follow Him. (Matt. 16:24). For when we choose not to cling to this life ruled by our pride, our comfort, our desires, and our “safety”, and instead lay down our lives to walk in His life; (Matt 16:25) we choose well…and we find Him waiting (Prov. 8:17).
From our knees with a surrendered life we have an amazing vantage point to realize in a much profounder way, that “in Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) From our knees we can know, “that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) From our knees we are humble enough to realize that “we are the clay, and He is our potter; And all of us are the work of His hand. (Isa. 64:8b) And from our knees we can cry out to Him with the words of the Psalmist, “though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.” (138:7)
When we begin to see Him for who He is, we are free then to truly be grateful for life itself, for the undeserved privilege of being called the children of God. (John 1:12b) We can recognise and grab hold of His promise that even though “in the world we will have tribulation. We can take heart; He has overcome the world.” (John 16:33b)
Ironically, in persevering in Christ and setting our eyes upon Him despite the battles we face, we will find that we do have a place to go, a true retreat when we are weary. We have His open invitation to “come to Him, all who labor and are heavy laden, and He will give us rest. “(Matt. 11:28) He does not leave His soldiers without rest, without comfort, without peace, but we find that these things are not of our own making, they are not the products of our own design. When we choose to cling to Him in the battle- despite the battle – we will find the peace that surpasses understanding IN Him…not in anything else. (Phil. 4:6-7)
So when next we find ourselves weary, tempted to surrender or retreat, let us instead surrender and retreat to Him. Let us choose Him. Obeying Him in love. Clinging to Him and reminding ourselves that “those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”(Isa. 40:31)
Let us confess this day, that too often we have desired the easy way, the comfortable way, the controllable way. Too often we have chosen the wide path, put down our cross, and followed ourselves. Let us humbly fall down on our faces so He may change our perspective of who He actually is. Let us trust Him in the problems, conflicts, pain, sorrow, and difficulties of this life. Let us ask Him for perseverance and then trust that our next foot forward will land on the solid Rock.
Let us remember all that He has already done for us, “for while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). and be encouraged by the words of God through Isaiah, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” (40:10)
Eyes on the prize… clinging to His faithfulness, overflowing with gratitude and awe, let us choose to keep moving on. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”(Gal. 6:9)