Worth the Struggle

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

“I press on... One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way.” Philippians 3:12-15

“Continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel… For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Colossians 1:23,29

“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

Into the quagmire of struggling to concentrate in prayer, rain breaks in, pelting through angst and wrestling to remind that this effort and God’s word would not return void. Keep on, keep on pounds the heavy, rhythmic tap of rain. Ah, how kind and timely is the Lord, listening intently to soul cries, granting both will and way to Him, answering even as we ask. My word shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed. (Isaiah 65:24; Matthew 6:8; Philippians 2:13)

We may see only grey haze, He sees eternal blue. Clouds clog, swirl, speed along, His clarity remains untouched. We agitate and choke on uncertainty and always-changing scapes, yet He serenely, sovereignly rules. The enemies of distraction and doubt persist in their pester, but He stays steadfast, available, real. Keep on, keep on. Always He listens, always He abides. Faithfully He answers, guides, and inspires. When we taste His good, He turns apathy into appetite, dread into desire. (Psalm 34:8)

What causes us to resist reading His word and approaching His throne? Have we allowed enough time, separated from distractions? Have we set aside other responsibilities that would draw us off course? Have we opened the door to competing affections that vie for our devotion? (Do we need to leave our devices elsewhere?) When we shake off spiritual sloth, boldly press toward God’s throne of grace, admit our struggle, and plead for His intervention and favor, He helps, and blesses our effort unto immediate growth. (Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 2:4-5,9-11)

His word is not empty, but our very life! Why do we doubt its power and benefit? Keeping on is always worth the struggle, and that keeps the enemy taunting, beguiling. What lies are we believing: that my gut feelings are better, my instincts need no heavenly enlightenment? My other priorities are more important? My drive is sufficient, my strength adequate, my present knowledge enough? I don’t have time? Keep on, keep on through the urgencies of this world. Denounce the devil’s deceptions, press on in faith, and enjoy the life-giving blessing from time with Jesus. (Deuteronomy 32:47)

Lord, keep me pressing on the upward way, delighting in and taking nourishment from You daily.

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