The War Within
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”
Have you found as a follower of Christ that it is often times easier to tolerate the behavior of a non-Christian than it is a fellow believer? If you can be honest and admit that sometimes, maybe more times than we might care to confess, it is true. Our brother and sisters in Christ can get under our skin much quicker than someone who doesn’t know the Lord. And for good reason. They remind us of ourselves. There is an old saying that goes like this, “we tend to hate in other people the things that remind us of ourselves.”
You see, friend, every follower of Jesus is fighting an uphill battle as there is a war going on inside each of us. When you began to follow Jesus you enlisted into a battle against two invisible enemies. One without and the other within. Here’s another old saying, “I’m my own worst enemy” and though you might think that, there is someone who hates you to the core and wants nothing more than to destroy you. That would be the devil himself. The next biggest enemy you face each day is the one that resides in your own heart. The old you the bible says who seeks to war against the things of God.
Every follower of Jesus is in an intense battle. A battle for our heart, our soul, our thoughts, our hopes and dreams. It was William Shakespeare who penned the words, “To thy own self be true” and to be completely honest none of us are. We have disappointed ourselves for the simple fact we don't live up to our own expectations, and so the battle rages on. It's hard to be up on what you are down on and when we are down on ourselves it’s almost impossible to be up on anyone else. It’s why we need grace and mercy more than anything. Thats what the apostle Paul discovered for himself and what you and I need to discover for ourselves too.
Once you genuinely understand your own need for grace and mercy you will more readily extend it to others too, especially your brothers and sisters in Christ. After all, non believers don’t have the same internal struggle as believers do since they are not living to please God all the while learning how to die to themselves and to prefer other people. The natural instinct for every human being is self preservation. Ask 99% of the population if they would want 100 million dollars or world peace and guess what the answer would be. Just know you would be wrong if you said most people would choose world peace. We naturally think of ourselves first and so only a person who has the Spirit of God living in them seeks to put others first, always and no matter what. The rest of the world only does when its beneficial.
So, give your brothers and sisters in the faith a break today. When they say or do something that gets under your skin remember they are in an internal struggle. Decide before it happens to offer mercy and grace remembering that is what God has given us in Jesus, mercy and grace. That's what the Cross is all about. We couldn't win the war so Jesus won it for us.
“If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”
I LOVE YOU!
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