There is a hard struggle in being a Christian. When you begin following Jesus, he forgives you of your sins and you begin a lifelong process of following him, in which he leads you away from sinful tendencies and makes you more holy. This process will not be completed until we either die or Jesus returns.
So, my struggle is that I want to be fully free from sin, but I still have a long way to go. It would be really nice if I could be free from sin and be finished with that process next week, but the reality is that if I live to be 70, I still have a nearly 50 year battle with my sin to go. My desire is to be fully like Jesus and with him, but I have a long time to go.
Just when I think I almost have my sin under control, the Lord exposes to me 10 other areas where I am not even close to overcoming. I may be doing really well at patience and then I’ll be in a group of people and make 3 or 4 comments that I really shouldn’t have, that were arrogant, rude, or discouraging. I may be doing well at not looking at women with lust, but then lose my temper. I may have my language under control, but then cut someone off in traffic for my own gain.
I am a sinner.
And I want to be free from this curse over my flesh. I am completely forgiven of it because of the cross of Christ, but may we never use that as an excuse to indulge in it. I don’t want it as a part of my character anymore. But it is. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Maybe you feel this way. So what do you do?
I am a planner, so my one of my biggest thorns in the flesh is trying to think weeks, months, and even years out. There is value in not being content where you are in your walk with Christ, but there is also pain in fretting that you aren’t yet with Jesus where you won’t be for another 5 years. For whatever reason, God takes a lifetime to do a complete work in us and make us completely free from sin.
So instead of only focusing on the big picture, focus on today. Following Jesus and becoming more like him involves a lot of baby steps. We are never going to pole vault all the way through the Christian walk. It takes a lot of time. It is a battle. It is hard. Take it a day at a time and follow the Lord today. Keep the future in vision, so you know what you are aiming for, but don’t rush the sanctification process. Give everything you’ve got. When you give everything you’ve got and are fully surrendered to Jesus, you are in the appropriate posture at which he can do the most work in you.
“Oh that day when freed from sinning, I shall see thy lovely face
Full arrayed in bloodwashed linen, how I’ll sing thy sovereign grace
Come my Lord, no longer tarry. Bring thy promises to pass
For I know thy power will keep me til I’m home with thee at last.”