Monday, November 19, 2007


Most of us are slow to recognize that we have lost the war against our besetting sin. We deceive ourselves about the progress of that war, taking false comfort in inconsequential successes, distracting ourselves with elaborate battle plans and issuing orders to internal forces we cannot control. Our losses continue to mount, affecting everyone around us, but we ignore them. We imagine that we are "fighting the good fight" against sin, but the battle is already lost. All that remains is the formality of surrender–and the opportunity, the wondrous alternative, of surrendering to God instead.

Until we grasp the magnitude of our defeat, the prospect of surrendering to God is distasteful to us. We recoil at the thought of giving up, fearing a loss of our imagined liberty, and we frantically carry on our feeble resistance. But on that great and awful day when the inner defensive ring finally collapses, we fall toward God exhausted, and there to our inexpressible relief we find welcome instead of rebuke, dignity instead of shame, and life instead of death.

From Samson and the Pirate Monks
Whose struggle is this? Is it common to every Christian or is it only speaking of really bad sinners who aren't serious about following Jesus?

One of my Samson Society friends read this book quote Saturday night. It landed on all of us like a ton of bricks. But it was good!

I think everyone of us must pass through this struggle and more than once – sometimes every day. Sin and the devil are on a rampage and we are in a battle for our very souls. It's something we will fight until we are out of this world.

Being the proud people we are, we want to do it ourselves. Somehow, we think we can demonstrate our spirituality by winning the battle. That is where this book quote comes in. All we can do is surrender. No matter how long I walk with Jesus, I will never be able to do it alone. My flesh will always be my filthy flesh. My righteousness will always be as discarded menstrual rags (Isaiah 64:6).

And what about that besetting sin? I think that is common to all of us. There is that one (or more) thing we just can't get a handle on. Some would call it a thorn in the flesh. The thing that keeps us from boasting and drives us to the cross (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

The solution is surrender–I am hopelessly lost and weak. In that surrender I find victory and a Lord who speaks words of comfort, strength, peace and life. I am home where I belong.

We can't focus on the failures. We need to admit defeat, confess our sin (again), ask God to fill us with the Holy Spirit and continue to walk in the right direction. I'm also finding it is good to have a friend we can share these struggles with. That person can remind us that we are in a battle common to all Christians and that our concern about our sin shows that we really do want to walk with Jesus.

Not so bad after all.


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