What is the area of sin or temptation that is most tenacious in your life? What’s that problem area you can’t seem to change?
We live in a consumer-driven culture, so we’re conditioned to approach a lot of life from a consumer perspective.
Is this a good deal?
What does this offer me?
What do I get out of this?
Is this worth it?
I walk with a lot of men and women who have struggled for years with sexual sin, or despaired they’ll ever feel relationally whole, or felt since childhood they were gay, or have lost hope to find that special someone, or wrestled for longer than they could have imagined with a painful marriage.
Journeying with God is a long journey, one that is not fully illumed for us. And sanctification is a lifelong process. Sin is not a neighbor to holiness, nor addiction to freedom, nor brokenness to wholeness. I don’t know why these things last longer for some than others, and I don’t know why healing and change sometimes don’t come this side of heaven.
But I do know God loves each of us and is with us wherever we find ourselves.
In the book of Daniel, three Jewish boys named Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were given the choice by king Nebuchadnezzar to worship a false god or be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. They responded:
If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” (Daniel 3:16 – 18).
They had been stripped from their home and taken into captivity in Babylon, with no promise of ever being able to return. Everything around them was Babylonian. Everyone around them was bowing. Who would have blamed them if they bowed, too?
If these three boys related to God with an attitude of entitlement, they would have reasoned, “It’s not my fault I’m in Babylon, threatened with death. God can’t blame me if I bow to another god.”
If they related to God with a consumer mentality, they would have reasoned, “The God of Israel didn’t keep me from captivity, but the king of Babylon has treated me well, so I’ll bow to him.”
If they related to God as many in our day relate with God, they may have reasoned, “Since I’m in Babylon and can’t see that changing, it must be God’s will for me to bow to their king.”
• Remembered God is able to deliver them even though it looked impossible.
• Trusted God would deliver them.
• Affirmed their commitment to God even if He didn’t deliver them, no matter the cost.
Their faithfulness wasn’t contingent on what God had done for them (remember they were in exile), was doing for them in the moment, or would do for them.
For all who wrestle with sin or temptation (or any difficult situation for that matter) these three Jewish boys lead the charge for us. However foolish our choice appears to those around us, however lonely, tempting, or long our “exile” feels, we can choose Jesus.
But let me also add: We have great reason to hope not just for the life to come, but also in this present life. The three boys were forced into the furnace, where they came face to face with Jesus and were delivered completely.
For all who walk a long, difficult road, who knows what is yet in store for you?
I’d love to hear from you. How do you maintain hope even through all the ups and downs of your struggle? Leave a comment here.
Very anointed! Extra special insights! Thanks! Meekness and Trust in God despite despair of Babylon exile… They did not let Babylon and get them even though they were at Babylon. Different then the Israelites who let Egypt “enter” them even though they left Egypt they wanted to return. Thanks
I have learned over time to consider it all pure joy when I face any kind of trial (James 1:2). For I now know that in these trials is where my character is built and my hope is found. Without the trials I wouldn’t be the person that God wants me to be. Is it easy, no. Is it worth it, yes.
Matthew 13 parable of the weeds and the wheat. One day, the weeds will be uprooted and thrown into the fire. And God has seen fit to let them grow together for a purpose. His sovereignty has overridden my choices (because I would like not to be growing with the weeds). And I have accepted that…
Christ prays to the Father in the wilderness. Every time there were many miracles He would then withdraw topray to the Father. I have been challenged to go to my wilderness where Heprays to OurFather. He is always doing this even when we do not have the courage to join Him there . Thanks for your faithfulness . J
Sometimes I wonder if I will ever change but I don’t blame God, I know its my disobedience. I haven’t reached that point yet where I can say I’ve broken through because I still feel condemned for my sin and have to hide it from my family and the world. Thank God for regeneration ministries where there is a place to hear about God in a less judgmental way and to share my problems and hopefully one day be free. Im far from that place yet but I keep attending the meetings. Some weeks its hard to go because of work or just feeling like the worst person in the world and like maybe I don’t belong. But I have had good small group leaders to reach out to for encouragement.
MP, thank you for sharing and good for you that you’re pushing through and coming back for help even when it’s difficult. Those accusing and shaming thoughts that try to keep you away aren’t from God. Jesus didn’t come for the healthy but for the sick, and like a good Bridegroom He’s committed to you “for better or worse”. This means even if you were the worst person in the world, He’s still want you drawing near. We’re honored to walk with you on the journey.
M.P. there are many resources to help you during this trial and dry season. You are not alone. I would recommend you read How God changes us by Net Bailey you can find the article online and many others wonderful helps she has written like Faith is not a feeling. I also recommend A fourfold Salvation by AW Pink and profiting from the word by AW Pink. Trusting God even when it hurts by Jerry Bridges.
I’m sorry but right now I don’t feel any hope of changing I hope and pray but always ends the same way
Hi Ann, it sounds like you are in a very difficult time. Please let us know if we can help in some way! Father, I pray for Ann right now. Would you reveal yourself to her in some way today. Have mercy on her, Lord, in her distress.
I have a problem with drugs and sexual sin that I’ve been fighting for a long time and every that I wake I know that, that’s one more day that I can remind God of his promises and to remind my self that God cannot lie and I’m not God. He knows what’s best and even though I may not like God’s timing, because sometimes I feel like God has give up on me. I hold on to God will never leave us nor forsake us and everyone that calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. I called on the great I AM and just believe with all my heart that on day I’m going to wake up a changed person!!!
I never could change, but one thing I learned is I am not under LAW. I am free to do anything, it does not change my standing with God. I have been justified thru the redemption of Jesus, nothing depends on what I do to attain holiness. It has been attained for me, which is why I have been qualified to receive all the promises of the bible. They are mine even when I do wrong. The wages of sin is death, but the FREE gift of God is life now and forever! My sins have been removed as far as the east is from the west in God’s eyes. He is at peace with me. Thats why He blesses me. And one of His blessings to me is making me a whole person, and not dysfunctional in my experience of everyday living. But the big thing for me is never to feel condemned by all my stupid mistakes, especially when I hurt people who I love. I am leaving it up to God to work in me, both to will and to do the right thing. Until then, it is what it is, I will even brag about my weaknesses, and not take myself too seriously, and instead brag about how God will be strong on my behalf.