I struggle with the flesh; I know I am judged by those who see my struggles. I have learned that there is nothing to discuss when my guilt is already established. That is futility; and it will lead to speaking on behalf of our accuser – to defend self in the face of established guilt, real or assumed makes no difference at that point. And if the accusation is there, then I am assumed to be guilty so there is no reason to speak, instead let the truth speak for itself. If I have to be honest, I know that there is nothing about me worth defending; if God so chooses to defend me I praise Him for taking notice of my life because that is why I struggle instead of surrender to my flesh – that our Father notices and brings me through the struggle and makes me brand new.
That is the hope of everyone who believes in God when times of trials roll around. We all hope that God takes notice of us and come to our defense when we call to Him in our distresses. Every single human being holds that hope of vindication from accusation and trial. Because we all want what’s promised after the struggle. We want to come through the fire and receive from God “a new heart and a new Spirit” Ezekiel 36:26.
So why do we have to go through troubles sometimes and why does it feel like we’re all alone in those times?
Job chapter 1 verse 9-10 is as good a place as any to start because often times, we begin with one question in our times of struggle; “why me”? It is not a bad question to begin with. It is actually a good question to ask when we’re going through struggles. But, many of us end there and enter a season of self-pity that never ends and so we miss the answer to the question. That is what’s bad about asking, why me. Not the question, but our reaction to the question.
The why varies from person to person; as in Job’s case, his tests didn’t come from something he did, per se, rather because he was a good man. If you read the entire book you will see the answer was that the accuser used God’s entreaty to throw dirt on Job to have God test him to prove that Job would betray God and curse Him, if God stopped protecting Job. In Job’s struggle, we see that problems in life and pain affects the best of us in ways we can’t fathom while times are good, but also that God is with us when we come back to Him and correct our error.
Job asked many questions and spoke many things that God didn’t like. When it was time for Job to listen, Job listened carefully (Job 32, 36, & 38, 39…). But, if we ask “why me” and end there to throw ourselves a pity party, nothing will get solved.
As believers, we know that God doesn’t hide anything and is not above pulling us up by our shirtsleeves, not because He’s angry, but because He loves us and wants the best for us in every situation. I can give more than my share of testimonies about God’s correcting rod. God gives us the answer when we ask why in ways we can understand, IF we are willing to look past our pain to the truth. If we are willing to look at the truth, we realize one of two things; there is something God is pointing out about us He wants addressed or, we stand accused and are to be tested and also refined in our season of testing.
Whatever we choose, God does not give up on us and will not give up until the last hour of fighting so we should not give up. In fact, if we choose to look at what is happening with an unbiased (love of truth, not just self) attitude, we will realize something profound that has taken me years of studying to understand. God throws himself right into the fire with us when we begin to take corrective actions instead of pining away at our situation. We see an example of this in 2 Samuel chapter 5:23 where King David is being attacked by the Philistine army after having defeated them in battle. God tells King David not to “attack them straight, circle around and attack them under the Balsam trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tree tops, move quickly because it means the Lord has gone out ahead of you to attack the Philistine army.”
God says, “the battle is the Lord’s”. We see what this means in the New Testament when Jesus was led to His death after living a pious and truthful life, taking our sins to the grave with him and leaving them there when he rose from the dead and went back to heaven. He deserves the praise, but Jesus spoke lovingly of God for a reason; after being unable to have the Israelites come to Him willingly, though they were unable to follow the Law according to God’s will, God sends the Messiah to walk perfectly in the Law. And so Jesus caringly did according to what God wanted, not turning to the right or to the left. And in his unfailing love and His tireless zeal to save as much of humanity as possible, God made it easier for us to come to Him through Jesus. All we have to do is believe that Jesus took our sins to the grave and left them there and submit to Him. As Jesus said “I speak only what my Father tells me.” And, as we see in Matthew 11 verse 28, “take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
During his life, Jesus went to secluded places to pray by himself. Ironically, we do not know what Jesus prayed about unless we look to the prophets through whom God told us ahead of time what He would do. The book of Psalms is filled with prayers by David and others that tell of Jesus’ struggles, like Psalm 64 verse 4-5, Psalm 69 and so many others where Prophets spoke of the anguish Jesus suffered through prayers and his crucifixion. Jesus walked peacefully though he was accused of many things, all of them we now know are false accusations or his words twisted to suit the need of the accuser. He did not answer or argue.
I know that every situation is different and every life is different. But consider my next sentence and ask anyone to validate what you will read; silence and action is always the better answer. What I have learned over the course of my life is this; there is no lie in silence, except our own and we should correct our lies in silence. In silence we will also find our answers to what ails us. In silence we do not lash out at anyone in a good or bad way. In silence we allow ourselves and others to come to terms with THE truth. All can go back to God and seek solace, and, if God is willing all will find forgiveness and healing. Mainly, for the accused, it allows them to see what their struggle and the reason for it, and to take corrective measures and own up to it, shame or no-shame. And in that silence we will see the hand of the Lord as we begin to take purposeful action to rectify the issue.
Personally, I will admit my struggles with the flesh. Paul and the Elders (Apostles) spoke in volumes about the struggles of the flesh, from Acts to Jude and how the Holy Spirit will help us in the struggles. It is not an easy struggle and the pull of the flesh is not always simple to brush aside. But when we are willing to suffer in silence and call to God and listen to the counsel Jesus Messiah offers through the Holy Spirit, we understand the meaning of Psalms 23:4 “your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. Praise God for the correcting rod and the Laws He uses to show us our failings, because then we can correct our behavior knowing that Christ took the brunt of the wrath of God that the early Israelites struggled with before Messiah came to die for our sins. And our struggles show us how much God loves us and how much He is willing to do to show us this unbounded love, when we understand the answers and accept them.
It is that love that God gives so freely that allows me to freely admit my struggles and work on them, being sure that I am careful to cause as little harm as possible by the way I live. That Love is why I choose to forego arguing over accusations and would rather sit and look at what I stand accused of to make sure I am not doing it, or take corrective action in order to live with a purpose not to cause undue harm to anyone. That includes anyone who accuses me of anything. I will do my best not to cause harm by correcting them, and I will promptly call to God because I know that He will send the Holy Spirit to counsel me and the accuser and heal both of us for any wrong, regardless of who is wrong or right.
As we are judged because of our struggles, we should remember that those who judge us and also those who accuse us have their own struggles. When we see others struggling we should keep in mind how we feel when we ourselves are judged and reserve judgment as much as possible, better if we don’t judge them at all (2 Chronicles 28 verse 9-11 & Matthew 7 v 1-2 “Judge not or you will be judged”). We do not know what the accuser has for the person going through a struggle when they leave our presence and, if we are not willing to help them carry the pains of their struggle, then we should not have anything to say about it. And we do not know what God intends to do with the struggle of the person who is accused. But we should seek the Lord in our struggles, from the simplest to the most difficult. That way we not only see the “why me” in our situation, but we see the hand of God and the Holy Spirit holding our cross above our heads.
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