“A true Christian is one who has not only peace of conscience, but war within. He may be known by his warfare as well as by his peace.” ― J.C. Ryle, Holiness
Do you think of yourself as warring inside? If not now, presently, I assure you...you will. Are you surprised, frustrated, or often-times caught off guard when you don't feel like your life in Christ is smooth-sailing-on-a-moonlit-night-serenaded-by-a-sonata? Or a field-of-daisies-on-a-sunny-afternoon-with-butterflies-flittering-and-children-skipping? You get the idea. Your walk with the Lord doesn't feel like that all the time? Neither does mine.
As redeemed children of God, we undoubtedly KNOW the rest and peace of a soul that is made righteous, a life that has been rescued from the destruction of sin, and the joy of approaching a holy God with freedom and confidence. And yet...this side of heaven, there are still seasons of war within our souls.
Not war because we are slaves to sin. Not war because we don't know light from darkness. Not war because we are enemies of God. Not war because we haven't tasted peace.
No...it's a warring...
...of not yet fully overcoming the flesh
For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (Romans 7:18-19)
...of a citizen of another country
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)
...of longing for heaven
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
...of having a new Master
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
...of being set free
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:18)
“Sin also carries on its war by entangling the affections and drawing them into an alliance against the mind. Grace may be enthroned in the mind, but if sin controls the affections, it has seized a fort from which it will continually assault the soul. Hence, as we shall see, mortification is chiefly directed to take place upon the affections.” ― John Owen, Overcoming Sin and Temptation
So this is not meant to discourage you, believer, but to encourage you! Find your delight, friend, in the faithful work of Christ in your life, and cast off the straining of a self-righteous soul. We war inside because we ARE, and are NOT YET. We are made fully righteous in Him, and we are discovering what that truly is day by day. We are not defeated because there is a warring inside...we are full of rejoicing because the victor has already claimed us.
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