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Spark

The internal struggle against sin is itself reason to hope. It’s evidence of the Master’s work in your heart, a spark of goodness within that wants to grow.

But for many who struggle, however hard they try, the spark of good remains just a spark, seemingly ineffective amidst the familiar dark waters of temptation.

Can you relate?

  • You want to stop yelling at your kids, but you lost your temper again.
  • You’ve been trying to lose weight, but the meal’s over and you feel uncomfortably full.
  • You want to stop looking at pornography, but it’s 2 a.m. and you’re still online looking for more.

You wonder if you’ll ever change, ever leave this sin behind once and for all? Can the spark in you become a burning flame?

Unequivocally yes. I say this confidently not because I know you. But because of the spark.

Where did it come from, this tenacious little light? Did you generate it on your own? No. If you’re in Christ, He put it in you.  And He’s very good at what He does.

Consider this: You’ve fallen repeatedly to sin for years, yet the spark in you that wants to do good still burns. How could this be? How much dousing can it take without being extinguished?

Apparently a lot.

What does this say about the One who put it there and His love for you? What does it say about the new heart He’s given you? Could it be He’s made you stronger, more committed, more persevering, more of a fighter than you’ve yet believed?

Could it be the spark is so enduring because, contrary to what you’ve believed, it’s the real you, and the sin that tempts you is the part that doesn’t belong?

Where have you been falling repeatedly? This week, instead of beating yourself up for the sins you’ve been falling to, consider the miraculous tenacity of the spark in you and what it means about who lives in you and who you are.

Question: Which do you typically give more weight to, your failures or the spark of desire within you to do better? How might giving the spark more attention change things for you? Share your thoughts below.

In hope,
Josh

4 thoughts on “Spark”

  1. Augustine in his autobiography “Confessions” told this same struggle he had with “the spark.”. It was his “habit of sex” that delayed his Christian conversion and subsequent baptism. He states a true but humorous prayer he prayed: “Lord,give me sexual purity, but not yet.” He struggled for years but finally he heard children singing: “Take and read” He opened his Bible up to a passage about sexual purity by Paul and suddenly GRACE came to give him what he sought. Immediately he got up, confessed, converted, prepared for Baptism and became someone who shaped Christian culture and thought to this day on the Trinity, the necessity of Grace and the Eucharist. See a summary of his conversion : http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/confessionsaug/section8.rhtml

    or read his own words in Confessions book VIII

  2. What I do to effectually reject a temptation: First, I can tell a temptation from a God-given inspiration by what the desire drawing me looks like. If it is a self-serving desire, a desire the objective of which is “the bottom line is ‘more for ME,’ ” that desire is obviously a sinful desire. A righteous desire is a-l-w-a-y-s a God-and-others’ serving desire. The former desire came from Satan, who “invented” the self-serving mode of living, and on that basis he was expelled from Heaven.

    God-and-others’ serving living is what God has appointed for all of His personal creatures, so the big question is, “How do we get Satan’s temptation to do the wrong displaced by God’s inspiration to do the right in its place?”

    This is the answer: Have God to pitch out Satan’s formation of your desire and displace that malformation of your desire in your mind with Christ’s right formation of your desire in its place. Just ask Him to enter you mind and remold your desire to match His own desire to live jointly with you through you at that time. He’ll then be all-smiles glad to reverse your desires to do His will with you, and through you, p-r-o-m-p-t-l-y. He died on the Cross to enable Him to do this ministry, for He deeply wanted to deliver His people from striking temptation. Thus, as they call upon Him from day to day to reverse their desires of the moment, it rejoices Christ greatly to supply them with prompt service. Then they do His inspiration instead.

    Saints become the more saintly as they more and more habituate that practice. And living saintly is truly the most enjoyable form of human living possible. Christ then becomes to you the most wonderful person you most deeply enjoy . . . adding zeal and gladness to your thanks-filled service.

  3. What I do to effectually reject a temptation: First, I can tell a temptation from a God-given inspiration by what the desire drawing me looks like. If it is a self-serving desire, a desire the objective of which is “the bottom line is ‘more for ME,’ ” that desire is obviously a sinful desire. A righteous desire is a-l-w-a-y-s a God-and-others’ serving desire. The former desire came from Satan, who “invented” the self-serving mode of living, and on that basis he was expelled from Heaven.

    God-and-others’ serving living is what God has appointed for all of His personal creatures, so the big question is, “How do we get Satan’s temptation to do the wrong displaced by God’s inspiration to do the right in its place?”

    This is the answer: Have God to pitch out Satan’s formation of your desire and displace that malformation of your desire in your mind with Christ’s right formation of your desire in its place. Just ask Him to enter you mind and remold your desire to match His own desire to live jointly with you through you at that time. He’ll then be all-smiles glad to reverse your desires to do His will with you, and through you, p-r-o-m-p-t-l-y. He died on the Cross to enable Him to do this ministry, for He deeply wanted to deliver His people from striking temptation. Thus, as they call upon Him from day to day to reverse their desires of the moment, it rejoices Christ greatly to supply them with prompt service. Then they do His inspiration instead.

    Saints become the more saintly as they more and more habituate that practice. And living saintly is truly the most enjoyable form of human living possible. Christ then becomes to you the most wonderful person you most deeply enjoy . . . adding zeal and gladness to your thanks-filled service.

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