Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Change Will Always Be a Battle

"Must I be carried to the skies / On flowery beds of ease?" wrote Isaac Watts in the eighteenth century. "Are there no foes for me to face? / Must I not stem the flood?" (Hymn, "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?")

Few of us, much as we may wish to grow as Christians, get particularly excited at the prospects in these lines--especially the implication of constant battle. And if outside wars are bad enough, the one in each human heart--the struggle to travel from where we know we are to where we wish we were--is so unrelenting and painful that it's not surprising many people surrender to semi-comfortable mediocrity. At least it's easy to live with.

Easy, but not fulfilling. God has bigger plans for each of us--plans too important to leave us to fight the battle alone. Praise Him that we have more than conscience and our own will power as "inside allies"--we have the Holy Spirit Who strengthens and comforts and guides us in the Truth. Most of us make the battle harder than it has to be, because we approach it with the wrong attitude. Spiritual growth is not an appendectomy where we can doze off and let someone else take care of everything, nor is it an exercise prescription where someone hands us detailed instructions and then leaves us to carry them out alone. It's physical therapy that only works if we keep our own muscles operating even as someone else provides constant instruction and support, a program where progress and results are re-evaluated and adjusted on a daily basis.

A hard fight? Yes. One we can win--in God's strength and not ours? You bet.

Change will always be a battle,
And the hardest change of all
Is that wrought in one's own spirit:
So it has been since the Fall.

Change will always be a battle;
Though resolve be firm and strong,
Still new ground is gained by inches,
And the struggle will be long.

Change will always be a battle
For mere mortals, weak and frail:
And against sin's lure so cunning,
Human strength can not prevail.

Change will always be a battle:
But those souls who walk in Christ
Find we have a great Commander,
And His strength will yet suffice.

Change will always be a battle,
But fear not: God's holy Son
Is the One Who fights it for us:
Through Him we shall overcome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Boy I wish I'd written this, because it's good and true. I also wish the change needed wasn't so unrecognizable. I wish I understood the process so much better. I wish there were an instruction manual, because I'm blind if the things to be seen is father than one inch in front of my face. I guess the answer is in Jesus. Help me God to see him. Thank you for pointing it out.