I just finished a journal and now I’m on to the second one for the year. This year has been quite a reflective one and I’ve definitely committed more to journaling the highs and the lows with the Lord. I was a bit saddened by how strikingly similar the ending of my recently finished journal was to the one before it.
The similarities are really uncanny as I penned almost identical statements of remorse. I had once again found myself detailing to the Lord my frustration with a particular issue and thought process that doesn’t honour Him. It has become cyclical and although I’m painfully aware of the signs, trends and what to do, I found myself dishonoring God in thought, words and actions.
I pinched myself and I’m still human and equally in need of God in both the highs and lows of life. We often forget how desperately in need of God we are when things are sailing smoothly. It appears that in those moments, we begin to feel self sufficient and we all know how that faulty thinking ends up, spoiler alert: destruction.
And so it is for my good that I am super conscious of my need for God. Many agree that the first beatitude: “ blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” refers to our desperate dependence on God, as our source of satisfaction. Charles Spurgeon said “The first link between my soul and Christ is … not my riches but my need.”
The more aware I am of my need for God even in the good times, is quite a humbling thought. The scripture tells us in John chapter 15 that without Him we can do nothing. It is therefore out of desperation to live a God-honouring life that I need to stay submitted and in intimacy with the Lord. Asaph in Psalm chapter 73 verse 28a says “But for me it is good to be near God,” and that has resonated with me so deeply for the past few months, that I need to stay close to God, it is both a necessity and delight.
Same old trick
As I meditated on how inopportune the particular thought process was, I was reminded of Jesus’ temptation and how it came at the cusp of the commencement of his ministry. I have been pushing toward a particular project the Lord laid on my heart with more fervor than I had in previous months. The temptation I believe came as a distraction to derail and quell my new found exuberance. It's important to note that the enemy of our souls is watching and preying on us. Condemnation and stifling guilt are binding tools the enemy uses to trap us in cycles. It’s quite a mean trick, as the enemy lures us into sin and then sends you on guilt trip us for falling into it. Therefore, we must be mindful of his devices, they are quite similar to the ones he’s been using for years.
It is also important to note that ultimately, we are drawn away by our own lusts and entice. But in Jesus, we have the wherewithal to overcome thoughts and feelings that do not honour God. A friend of mine shared an observation from an Old Testament passage, and he essentially said that we need to purposefully and daily submit to God, because the temptation may come to not want to hear from Him. Before I hit this mental bump in the road, I would’ve considered myself to be in a good place with the Lord. It was the gradual and daily moving away from His presence and His voice that I think triggered this repeat. And so, we must be careful to observe the trends and signs, and be vigilant in guarding time with the Lord.
In the wilderness, it was through the Word that Jesus overcame the tricks of the enemy and we are now armed with the same ammunition. 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Additionally, we are exhorted to actively and aggressively pursue righteous living. Furthermore, the exhortations throughout scripture about righteousness have never given me a passive impression. They always involve the bending of our will to honour God, also practical commands to “flee and shun” and an active retraining of our mind to think differently.
Our spirits and flesh are at war, but we must train ourselves in righteousness and be conscious of the cycles the enemy tries to bring us through. We must also be honest and call them what they are, fight with the Word and find godly Christian accountability.
Jhonelle is a Jesus enthusiast and Christian youth leader. She’s a lover of all things related to discipleship and a freelance writer.