I find it so intriguing how once you feel you have conquered a season of trials, the inner workings can tend to linger in the midst of each day. Over all, there is no doubt that the once overwhelming battle has indeed been brought low in submission to Him, but there is still the continuous lingering. I think that it provides a glimpse of how enslaving evil is, but the little victories of moments unveil His indescribable magnitude and power in these weaknesses.
“The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” – Matthew 26:41
The spirit is willing. These four words linger a little longer in my mind as I finish the last now lukewarm sip of my coffee. At 7 am with a new morning full of mercies and new hopes, the willingness of the spirit seems to abound. Immersed within scripture while the dew has yet to leave the grass for the day, allows for a stream of thoughts full of hope and determination before the journey of the day has begun. However, the cover of the Bible slowly closes, journals are put away, and final tender whispers of prayer leave our lips. The reality will hit the second our toes continue to the next chapter of the morning. We are weak, feeble and nothing. So much of the willingness that just quenched our thirsty souls will go to battle with the realities of the world. It is possible for our willingness to be swallowed by the weakness of our entirety.
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts not be weighed down with the cares of this life…” –Luke 21:34
Cares of this life are found so easily as our minds wander past the dangerous boundaries outside His wisdom and truth. How often this is a reality. In these moments it is so easy for our hearts to hide behind walls of disappointment in seeking to see our desires instead of walking sensitive to His intimacies, as then our desires will align. This sensitivity allows our hearts to dance upon disappointment. Walls will crash down as His relentless pursuit for our hearts continues. He will never relent until all that we are is His.
But we find ourselves drowning in depths of comparison, insecurities and fear. Our vision is blinded and hindered to a limited view full of the lies that evil thrives as soon as our feeble minds entertain them. We are so prone to wander this path with eyes only seeing through this lens. Even if it is just for a brief moment here and there. We are called to be still, to rest in Him, and to cling to His promises in every circumstance.
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves to sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching which you have committed, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” –Romans 6:17
This verse provides just a glimpse of the indescribable sweetness of our Savior and portrays the victory we have through Him. All of our affliction, which looks different for every single heart, is engulfed in slavery to this world. But we are free and become slaves to righteousness. As a result, we are called to be slaves with a single minded obedience.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes on this in The Cost of Discipleship:
“To rely on Christ’s word, and cling to it as offering greater security than all the securities in the world.”
“The call was the Word of God himself, and all that it required was single-minded obedience.”
“The answer of single minded obedience, and it is only to this obedience that the promise of fellowship with Jesus is given.”
“The false law is the law of the world, of which the law of grace is at once the complement and the antithesis. The “world” here is not the world overcome in Christ, and daily to be overcome anew in fellowship with Him, but the world hardened into a rigid, impenetrable legalistic principle. When that happens grace has ceased to be the gift of the living God, in which we are rescued from the world and put under the obedience of Christ; it is rather a general law, a divine principle.”
This is the most prominent transformation that continues to allow growth in my heart. I give way to the chains of affliction that evil tangles my heart in, I give way too simply. Our disobedient thoughts can range in severity, but that severity isn’t taken into account when the reality plagues that it is all sin. Every single one is the continual wandering back into the slavery of lies and worldliness. This straying occurs in multitude, but the grace that meets our brokenness abounds in vastness we cannot fathom. This grace overflows with an exact mercy that holds us in the sovereignty of Him and changes our identity to a slave of righteousness. As Bonhoeffer so accurately conveys, we find security beyond measure, greater than any security our feet may find here. This security allows the seemingly relentless chants and thoughts disobedient to Christ to fade into darkness, exposing the light of the truth to rise within our hearts. These thoughts of anxieties, depression, insecurity and fear can be laid down at the feet of Jesus, freeing our souls from paralyzing bondage.
It is with a single minded-obedience that we can have the ability to be still and His vision as our vision. Every morning as we begin to face the new day full of His loving kindness, may we hear and taste and see of His steadfast love. May our hearts be rendered and rest within the shadow of His wings. May we cling to His presence as our weakness and affliction are left at His feet. This pruning can be so painful, but through full adherence and obedience the journey to Christlikeness finds growth.
Growth has and will continue to change my life in ways that I cannot even describe. Slavery to righteousness is the most beautiful adventure I have ever embarked upon. On it, we can begin to overcome deceptive thoughts and cares that swarm around us looking for any chance to enter. Our hearts no longer are enslaved by destructive lies, but are free to dance safely within His truth and promises. The victory prevails as we press forward full of the joy and hope only found within abiding in the shelter of the Most High.
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
Bear your cross as you wait for the crown
Tell the world of the treasure you’ve found