But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.Galatians 5:16-17 ESV
When we first come to Christ, we celebrate the freedom so newly found in Him. Our hearts surrender to Him, the Spirit comes to dwell in us, and our lives are on fire for Him. We raise a banner for others to see, and welcome His inexplicable comfort and His peace. We know at the end of this life, if we accept the free gift of salvation, our reward will be in heaven with Him. We look forward to the promise of a reward for a race well run. It truly is a glorious day when we accept Jesus into our lives.
But then we start to live our lives as believers and suddenly realize a life with Christ is hard because He calls us to so much more than those living around us. Our hearts need to be different, our responses need to be different, our marriages need to be different. He calls us to live a life for Him. When He comes to live in us, He begins the painful work of transforming our hearts to be less self-focused and more others-focused. It’s the in between where disciples are made. It’s in between the beautiful surrender and the great promise that we live right now.
These days can be long and dark, and they can be trying on our souls and on our marriages. It’s in these heartbreaking days we’re told to wait, to take courage in Christ, to keep our eyes fixed on Him, to let the Spirit strengthen us…but the reality is, it can feel like we’re drowning some days. We know we’re supposed to walk in the Spirit, but some days the question is how? How are we supposed to walk in the Spirit when we feel like our world is crashing down around us?
It’s in the pain that God will meet you and draw you close because it’s in the pain that your heart will be exposed. It’s only in your deepest, darkest, most difficult moments that you will discover what’s most important to you. It’s only when the heartache in our lives is personal and so pervasive that we cannot think of anything else that we begin to cry out to Him. And it’s in those moments He’s making you into His disciple.
Those moments are excruciating—when we’re looking for answers and we can’t find them. We question why a loving God would allow us to walk through such challenging days with such a difficult person. We wonder why He won’t just change our spouse so we can experience the blessings others seem to know in their marriages. It’s in these deepest, darkest moments that we hear silence as a response to our prayers. We want to walk in the Spirit, but we hear nothing from Him. Is it always going to be like this? Silence. Will he ever change? Silence. Our hearts ache for a response. Do you even see me? Do you even love me?
The Spirit hears us, but He wants us to see Him, He wants us to love Him above all else. He wants no treasure before Him. Nothing. No thing. No person. No plan.
It’s in those moments that God is revealing our treasure so He can reveal our heart. God loves you far too much to let lesser things posses your heart. What has ensnared your heart so deeply that it’s taken over your world? What has you praying so desperately that you cannot let it go?
What if all that we are grateful for went away? Would we still love God? Would we still trust Him? What if He said no to your most desperate prayers, would you still trust Him? He wants your heart even more than that one thing that has a hold so deeply on you that you can’t seem to separate it from Him and His love for you. God wants your heart more than you want the answer to your prayer.
Trusting in the Lord doesn’t happen because I want it. I cannot simply will myself to trust Him more. What outrageous irony: the one thing that I am responsible for in my life I cannot will to happen. Trust happens as a response to complete surrender to the Spirit. When you surrender that thing you’re white-knuckling, and you see His plan all along, that’s when you begin to trust. But you can’t see it until you let it go. Look to what He is showing you in your heartache—take the one thing you love more than Him and lay it down. He will strengthen your Spirit and He will walk you through this trial.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗