I am not good at being alone for extended periods of time. I’m terrible at being silent. And I’m fairly sure that demure or composed are words that have never been used to describe me.
In 33 years of living, I have often struggled with how big my personality is. In times of conflict, I often ask Jesus why He made me the way He did. Why He placed me in a family of introverts. Why He requires of me what He requires. His answer has always been the same. Silence.
But in the silence of His voice come other voices that have many answers. Reasons why I’ll never accomplish what God has called me to do. Taunts. Twistings and manipulations of the Word. Venom. They’re not audible. They don’t have to be. They come shouting in the name of my insecurities. In the name of me. It is my sin that feeds this internal conversation that seeks to suffocate truth, and all too often, I allow it to happen.
I’m at the word count now where I turn the corner, and I’m supposed to offer some self-help lesson about how I’ve overcome these insecurities, the voices, the devil. But that’s not my story. It’s still my battle. More often than I’d like to admit, even to the Lord, my imagination and Satan work hand in hand to fit the word of God and the person of Jesus back into my image. Into something that makes me comfortable.
When these times have passed, and I have battened down the hatches long enough to be sane again, I ask myself what I think the crucified life is about? Why I’m surprised by what so easily besets me? And after all my years of walking with Jesus, how I can be so ignorant of the schemes of the devil.
I could blame it on “my flesh, my sin, my ____” but that makes the issues separate from what is really at issue here.
Paul doesn’t say in Galatians 2:20 that he crucifies his sins with Jesus. He says he is. That WE need to be crucified. Our sins, the things that so easily beset us can’t be separated from us because they are part of our nature. We are that bad. The only hope we have is the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. And our crucifixion, with the resurrection of Jesus within us.
The only hope I have when I am at war with the devil and myself is the word of God through the person of Jesus, taught to me by the Holy Spirit. The truth of what the word says about me after Jesus and the grace offered once I war my way through the straight gate onto the narrow path must become my anchor. From there, the edification is to endure hardness as a good soldier. To pick up our cross and follow Him. To run the race all the way to the end. To fight. To endure. To submit. To love.
There are things about myself I will struggle and war with until I die. There will be people I will compare myself to and wish I was like. And there will probably be more days than not when I wonder why Jesus called me. But in the midst of those struggles, the Truth will once again do its deadly work on this desperately wicked heart of mine.
The Holy Spirit will remind me through the Word what the Truth of my life. And Who He is to me. How He loves me. And how I am called to love Him. It is only this truth, which comes through His hand and His word, that shows me how to overcome. This is how I am being made new.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17