I was reviewing some of my old journals today. One stood out to me from about 2 years ago. Funny how it doesn’t seem like it should already have been that long. In this journal, I was experiencing a certain spiritual dryness and separation from God, which turned out to be a great transformation process for me. Specifically, I felt as if I was going through a civil war of self: mind versus heart. I couldn’t explain my feelings. I didn’t know what was going on. After reading it today, a simple revelation jumped out to me that seemed notable to share.
It seems natural for this mind versus heart battle to go on in our lives. Before salvation, we are of this world. We are bound by its sinful nature. We give into its temptations. We don’t know much about fasting, telling ourselves “no,” or restraining ourselves from simple things — even if they aren’t inherently bad. We just live, and do. We almost live mindlessly by giving into any desire. That is our human nature. We seek freedom to the fullest, yet are bound earth when we give into that sense of freedom.
However, we are now saved. We know to not give into every desire. We learn to fast certain things to draw closer to God, who has a hold on our hearts. God seeks us, and we follow him. Our spirit desires things not of this world, but of the kingdom of God.
I think we are daily faced with this crossroads of the mind’s desire for freedom and the heart’s desire for God. It seems fairly simplistic, but this is a constant struggle in just about everyone’s lives. We are constantly faced with choices. We can take path A or B. Path A goes left towards the world, and path B goes right, towards God. Typically, we know which path goes where — though we might try to tell ourselves differently. Obviously, we aren’t going to chose every path correctly. There are mess-ups and mishaps. We inevitably get caught up in ourselves and our desires. But this brings me to my point.
I think it’s important to carry around an awareness of this struggle. What am I doing that’s taking me away from God? What am I not doing that could point me to Him? Do I lie to myself? Do I go to the point of deceiving myself to think that I am not avoiding God? Am I holding on tightly to anything that I know isn’t promoting anything healthy in my life?
Now, it would be easy for you or me to get caught up in these questions. It would be easy to beat myself up over finding out negative things of myself in asking these questions. But, that’s not the point. God already accepts us fully. He just wants more of us. The point rather, seems to attempt to bind a sense of Kingdom-come to our hearts. Given that we face a kingdom-earth struggle daily, we should be prepared — we have to make decisions on a regular basis. These sort of questions help us at making those decisions.
Over the course of our lives, God continually reveals himself to us. As we receive His revelation, we should be building ourselves up, growing closer to God, and becoming better disciples in both the church and in the world. How are we to do that if we’re making choices that don’t promote a kingdom-come mentality. Over the next few weeks, really focus on this. Take notice to what enables you to draw closer to God and what doesn’t. Realize that you are faced with these kinds of choices daily. There is a natural spiritual battle taking place inside of you. That’s OK. But take charge over your life. Become the kind of disciple that God desires of you.
And don’t kick yourself when you fall — we all fall. You have a choice to envelop yourself in self-pity, depression, and despair, or to get up. So when you do fall (because you will fall), remember the love of God that surrounds you. That impenetrable force is what gives you strength to rise.