the struggle is real

June 19th, 2017 | Posted by

I’ve said it. I’ve read it.

The caption on the image said, “I’ve got ninety-nine problems, and they all involve carbs.” Followed by the familiar hashtag: #thestruggleisreal

The struggle is real.

 

It’s easy to think our struggles would be resolved if only we could fix someone or something else. But when the struggle is within us, it goes where we go.

Every so often, Greg has said, “People change . . . [pause for effect] but not all that much!” We have laughed together about this, many times.

We’re all a piece of work, aren’t we?

But truly, within the struggle is an underlying fear that some things might never change—and hard on the heels of that, comes discouragement. We’re tempted to cease the struggle. As Oscar Wilde famously said, “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.”  Ah, why not just give in? Self-love is so much easier than self-denial.

 

Make no mistake, giving in to temptation is easy. Easy peasy. Selfish desire is like drinking ice-cold lemonade on a sultry summer day. It slides down so easily in the heat. Only later to find it was contaminated with e-coli.

“This is just who I am.” The voices are loud today telling us that it’s all about who I am. But is it? We can make that our excuse. Too often, though, what we label as “who I am” the Bible calls indwelling sin. God’s Word tells us the truth about who He is and how He wants to transform us.

 

When I was not a Christian, I never knew anything about a sin struggle. Unbelievers don’t struggle with sin. The idea of temptation sounds old fashioned, out of date. I used to deal with temptation the way Oscar Wilde prescribed, by just giving in to it. But when I believed in Jesus, my identity changed. I put Him on the throne of my life. And the struggle with sin became real.

Someone once told me that she couldn’t forgive a certain person for a wrong done to her. She set her jaw with the determination of a toddler. “Don’t say that,” I responded. I could almost hear that inner two-year-old insisting I won’t, I won’t, I won’t. Gently and as firmly as I could, I urged her, “You can, and you must, forgive.”

 

The struggle is real. For the believer, it will be. Please hear me on this.

Sin—however small, understandable, or respectable it may be considered—is deadly. It cannot be housebroken. It cannot be tamed. It cannot be restrained with a collar and leash. We must recognize sin for what it is and deal with it. As John Owen warned, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

I don’t want to be petty, I want to be kind. I want to be gracious with my words, though it’s much easier to be critical. I hate envy and yet I feel the green-eyed monster within me. Oh Lord! Deliver me! Have you ever cried out, “The things I ought to do, I don’t do—and the things I don’t want to do, these I do!” You’re in good company, the apostle Paul did too (Romans 7:18-19).

 

It is easy to talk about happiness. It isn’t popular to talk about holiness. Is God interested in our happiness? Yes. But real happiness is not found outside of real holiness.

We need a picture of what true happiness looks like—and it looks like Jesus. I won’t settle for less, no matter what my heart tells me. The real struggle is with sin, and it will be as long as I am alive.

 

Don’t make a truce with sin. Don’t excuse it, or coddle it, or let Satan minimize it. But don’t let the devil condemn you or use it to destroy you. Remember that all sin, confessed and repented of, is covered by the blood of Jesus. You stand in Him, forgiven.

Cry out to Jesus to give you a new heart. Fill your heart and your imagination with a scriptural vision of the beautiful new you that God is creating.

Do walk in humility. Daily. Recognize that we need God’s constant flow of grace in our lives. Remember that tomorrow is a new day.

 

Yes, the struggle is real—but so is the power of God’s Spirit living in us. By God’s grace, we can change from “this is just who I am” into who He is making us. And when He is done and our struggles are over, we shall be like Him.

“In all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37

 

 





  1. Pamela Walter says:

    You said everything on my heart! I live in gratitude for Him everyday. Thank you for sharing this with me.i only want to live in every capacity of my being for Him alone! I so want to quit smoking and drinking when I don’t really need to. Out of work due to fibromalgia I ask God daily what He wants me to do for Him. I know He wants me to write yet…am not seeing the picture yet. I knowbetter than to give up. He is very strong in me. I yield every day. I stand on Isaiah 54 which He personally gave me. He has been healing our marriage of 37 years. My husband is nothing like He was and now has such a love for Jesus. All of my kids and grandkids are more than blessings. My son and daughter and husband are miracles from my only Father who raised me. Anyhow, I just want to thank you for speaking to my heart.

  2. Melanie says:

    Seriously met me right where I’m at. Before my husband and I became believers it was drugs and alcohol that ruled our lives, but now that the Lord has delivered us from that we struggle with disobedience with food and it’s just not right. We have no one to blame but ourselves because we know full well that God has delivered us from everything else. But we struggle with the surrender of this hurdle . Thanks for your message it really resonated to my spirit. God is bigger than the struggle and I know we can conquer through Him, sometimes we just need to hear it!

  3. Denise T says:

    Thank you for this devotional. I am in a storm and this is what I needed. I need to forgive a wrong done. I am crying out and I will not let the devil destroy my mind with hatred and hurt. Amen! Bless you!

  4. Pat says:

    Thank you, Cathe. I so need this message right now. I took a screenshot of it so I can refer to it every morning.

  5. Linda Thomson says:

    Thank you Cathe!

  6. Cindi says:

    Amen!!!!!!!❤️

  7. Pamela G says:

    Excellent article!!!! Yielding to our Father in heaven is the only way to have a happy life. No one or nothing else can fulfill. I am printing copies of this to share at work. Thank you Cathe!

  8. anka deruysscher says:

    Thank you Kathy! you are a beautiful writer because Jesus has given you something to write about.

  9. Rebekah.R says:

    I love this so much! Thank you, Cathe!❤️

  10. Gayel says:

    Amen, thank you so much. I am really struggling to forgive someone. I’ll try your technique.

  11. Christy Harker says:

    Thank you sister in Christ for putting on paper what was in my head and heart. I’ve been watching my two teenage daughters navigate this world and all the sin that affects every one of us. Along the way, praying that instead of having all the right answers I would have a gentle and kind spirit that teaches them to extend grace and allow for Gods mercy in their lives as well as others. The struggle IS real and I love that God has all the answers. Oh to be quick to forgive and slow to anger. To be able to laugh easily with joy and rest easy in Him. To be full of grace and less inclined to criticize.

  12. Araceli jenkins says:

    So true, thank you very much Cathe.

  13. sherrie says:

    I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father God, for you Cathe and Pastor Greg. I did not like to read but ever since I started reading your post and Bible Scriptures, I am reading the Bible everyday. I can’t pronounce the people names in the Bible, I am trying. I have been depressed for so long and sometimes want to give up, but I think about what Jesus did for me and us. Jesus did not desire to die or the way he died. Jesus LIVES.
    Yes, we have to forgive in order to move forward.

    Thank You Cathe.

  14. Lupe Desjardin Romero says:

    Dear Cathe, this is another great writing. Not until I became a born again believer did I have the inner grace to forgive the pedophile in our family who reeked so much harm to many. No longer on this earth, some of his victims are still hurting emotionally. My constant prayer is that they will come to know our Savior and forgive. Many of us are now born again and freed of hatred.

    I thank our Lord for His continued presence in my life. And with His grace to right me when I fall into sin, the battle will be over when I finally see Him face to face.

    Thanks, lots of love and many more blessings from above.
    Lupe Desjardin Romero

  15. Patrice says:

    Thank you Cathe for articulating so well the problems that spoke to me directly and the bible verses to look up. With my crazy life as it is things are not skipping along very smoothly. But with God anything is possible. Thank you for bringing things back into perspective Cathe. Praise God. I love reading the Virtue Women.

  16. Lorraine Martin Murphy says:

    I want a pure heart, Jesus is working in me, I need to change daily….

  17. Roxanne says:

    Thank you so much Catherine. Every time I read your devotionals I am blessed. This one has really touched me. Thank you and Greg. God bless your ministry.

  18. Elisa says:

    Thank-You Cathe, I appreciate your honesty. We all have struggles, we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Our strength and hope must come from walking and talking to JESUS our Loving Savior daily. We are his children and we belong to him.

  19. Terri Stoddard says:

    Thank you, Cathe… this is so timely for me right now. God knew I needed a booster shot today! Thank you, again.

  20. Karen says:

    Amen

  21. Eloise says:

    On point… God bless you & Pastor Greg

  22. Kristi Weaks says:

    Thanks so much for this comforting and inspiring devotional. My husband of 36 years of marriage was hit and killed in January. My life has forever been changed, because of this tragedy. We were high school sweethearts, and our entire lives revolved around each other. God is good! That’s what myself and my 3 adult children have meditated on over and over during this hard time. He will get us through anything, My temptation has been giving in to the enemy with my guilt. The shoulda-coulda- woulda’s, concerning my husband. I love Romans 8:37, that you included. I text it to my 2 adult sons who are married with children. You and Greg are such a blessing, with the blogs, etc. that you share. Thank you.

  23. Letty B. says:

    Good morning Cathe, Amen and awesome reminder. Who are we not to forgive when our Lord has forgiven us all we have done.
    I thank and pray for you and Greg’s ministry. <3 pressing on :)

  24. Sandy Stoddard says:

    Cathe, Thank you for your insight into God’s Word. It has been an encouragement to me and a comfort. We forgive as the Lord forgives.

  25. Jaymi says:

    Really great! “Cry out to Jesus to give you a new heart. Fill your heart and your imagination with a scriptural vision of the beautiful new you that God is creating.” I read this part a couple of times. So good!

  26. Misty says:

    Thank you for this post and your leadership. God is definitely using you to help others. I feel blessed.

    In His Love,
    Misty

  27. Cathy says:

    Thank you Cathe! So well said. I’m struggling with forgiveness and appreciate your wisdom.

  28. Ramona says:

    Cathe ~ what a wonderful meal to ingest and digest. May all of the readers experience the Holy Spirit’s power and direction in the ‘struggle’. May we, as women, lay down the façade that we handle it. Let us handle the trusting in the Lord to do what HE said and just enjoy the show of His salvation. Thank you for the reminders and the encouragement to grow deeper and wider in the Word.

  29. caroline turner says:

    Thanks Cathe. I have been in a stale time this is really an encouraging word to my heart.

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