"Sometimes It Is Just Plain Difficult!"

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:16, 17)

The struggle between the spiritual and the physical over control of our lives is real and difficult. In a society “hooked” on “quick fixes,” we discover there is no “quick fix” in this struggle. There is no pill to swallow, no immediate service to demand, or no “I will report you to your boss” threats. In fact, spiritual maturity intensifies the struggle. Spiritual maturity increases the struggle because it brings awareness and growth. It increases Satan’s problems. Thus, spiritual maturity focuses Satan’s opposition.

Some things cause Satan minimal problems. Words and the life of the human speaker are inconsistent. Judging is inconsistent. (We condemn and excuse for the same offense.) Rejection is inconsistent. (Some receive hate, and some compassion.) Satan easily points out the inconsistencies.

Words, judging, and rejection are of minimal threat to Satan. Even the immature can use words, judgments, and rejection. All three are real “turn-offs” to most people. All three make many Christians feel good about themselves [“I did my duty!”], but all three rarely touch the lives of people not in Christ.

However, godly examples cause Satan major problems. Consider the man or woman in Christ (1) who dares know his or her sinful weaknesses, (2) who acknowledges weaknesses, but (3) who is a constant example of grateful service to the God Who saves. How does Satan discredit him or her? The influence of a Christian who forgives personal offenders, who loves the unlovable, and who is gracious to the undeserving is an enormous threat to Satan!

Consequently, the more Christ-like we become, the greater threat we are to evil. As we grow in Christ, we allow “God in us” to appeal to Satan’s subjects. The result: we increasingly attract Satan’s attention. God’s influence in human life has enormous appeal to those trapped by evil. Peace in Christ and hope through God are powerful forces!

Do not deceive yourself! You never escape [on earth] the struggle between physical desires that oppose God and spiritual desires to be like Christ! Satan is shrewd and vicious! However, never forget God is more than his equal! Good triumphs through God’s acts! Satan killed Jesus, but God triumphed!

As Paul said to the Galatian Christians, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary” (Galatians 6:9).

Never tire of doing good! Travel to a place where we “fit” (Hebrews 11:14-16). Let’s encourage each other to be real and to walk together!

David Chadwell
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 08 March 2007

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