Today, I am going to take a more spiritual approach than yesterday. I often have a wrestling match throughout the day as I struggle between choosing "my will" versus "God's will." My heart of course wants to do God's will and live it out in my life. My flesh of course prefers things to be much more comfortable. In fact, as I write this I am dreaming of a way to escape to Mexico with my family and play on the beach with not a care in the world. But that isn't real life... life is messy and full of opportunities to struggle and grow. The realness of life has broken me in many areas the past few years. My heart has been shattered and my naive preconceived ideas of life have taken on new eyes. The one thing I know to be true is that my God is good all the time and All the time God is good. NO MATTER WHAT. :)
I have begun to read The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and am amazed how true his words ring today of the battle of flesh and spirit. I am also reading From Sea to Shining Sea by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. During the time of the 1600's, a great battle was taking place within men in Europe. Many were forced to choose between the conscience of the Holy Spirit and the forced worship of the church of England. Those who choose to be Separatists and Pilgrim's often paid dearly with their lives, livelihood, and families. Here is a long quote from Sea to Shining Sea. I thought it was encouraging and inspiring of the journey of life for those who are seeking Him.
"It is not natural to go God's way; we naturally prefer our own. Yet even with His infinite grace and mercy available to us, to choose God over self, the selfless way over the selfish way, is an extraordinary difficult thing to do. Which was why those who choose to go that way usually do so in the company of others so inclined and why God often calls groups of people to go His way together, that they might support one another along the path and show the way to others.
It is in this community of fellow believers in Christ that His followers have daily opportunity to put into practice this new covenant life based on the two great commandments: "Though shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, soul, mind and strength, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self" It was a dual covenant, with a vertical relationship with God and a horizontal relationship with other people."
Can I just have an amen for my amazing group of friends!!! I love you girls!
Secondly "Whenever anyone sets his will to follow in Christ's footsteps, that person becomes a powerful instrument of the Light__and thus active threat to the Prince of Darkness. For his example may well lead others into the same commitment. So that person-or group of people or church --comes under the harassment of the evil one, who will do all in his power to thwart and divert, tempt and seduce, discourage and destroy this new found determination to walk in the Light.
And God allows it: He permits the devil to try the determination of the pilgrim, for without this testing, the Christian's faith cannot be refined and matured. As much as he knows in his head that Jesus if Victor, as much as he reads it in the Bible and hears of it in the testimony of others, until he walks through the fire himself, he will not own it in his heart. As John Bunyan dramatically narrated, there will be wide and joyous places in the path of the pilgrim, to balance the hard and narrow ones, and God's grace will always be commensurate to the task or challenge. But there are no shortcuts to the Celestial City, no painless, easy ways. Those determined to live in the Light must be prepared to walk through valleys of darkness. Indeed, to some extent, the rest of their lives will be a struggle between the Light and the darkness."
So what are your thoughts friends? I would love to read your comments and hear your hearts.
Speaking of hearts, I am wishing you all a Happy Valentine's Day!