Have you ever struggled with the same issue and thought, “I’m just never going to win this fight!” I can tell you that this is definitely true in my own life. The same sinful tendencies creep up and, lest I keep careful watch, they seek to grab ahold of my heart and take me captive. How precious to me, then, is John 10:28 where Christ says “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” I am forever His. Praise be to God that my salvation does not rest on me, or what I have done or will do…it rests in Christ’s finished work on the cross, in the power of His resurrection. My salvation rests in Christ alone.
Yet how stubborn this flesh of mine is! I so often relate to Paul, where he says in Romans 7, verses 18&19, “For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” Apart from Christ, I am nothing. I do not mean this in a self-pitying, depressing sort of way. For at the same time that I am nothing, God’s Word declares me to be beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), created in His image (Genesis 1:27), a little lower than the heavenly beings (Psalm 8:5). But I am broken, flawed. Sin is the essence of my being (Romans 5:12, 19), apart from Christ’s regenerative work in me. This truth has sunk in deep, as of late, as I have wrestled with my fleshly desire to fear.
At times when I least expect it, fear has crept in to steal my joy, to take away the abundance of life that Christ has given to me (John 10:10). And despite my greatest efforts, I cannot change who I am. Oh, sure, I can change outward behaviors and appearances, feign a confidence that is not really there–but deep down I know the truth, that I am still scared little me.
But God has done something mysteriously wonderful in the midst of this joy-stealing fear: He has drawn me closer to Himself, and He has proved to be the victorious Warrior of my heart, who fights my battles and triumphs!! Through the work of His Spirit, He has brought to remembrance the truths of Scripture, and the hope of His promises. To be faithful (2 Tim. 2:13), to never leave or forsake me (Deut. 31:6), to complete the good work He started in me (Phil. 1:6). So I have continued to search His Word for hope, for strength (Ps. 119:28), for encouragement (Rom. 15:4). And I have not come up empty-handed.
And how has God proven that He is my Warrior, the One who triumphs over the sin of my flesh? By changing me, from the inside out. Oh, I’m certainly not perfect yet, and won’t be until He calls me home (1 Cor. 15:51-57). But this past week, in particular, as I have battled against fear, He has achieved something miraculous. He has won. As long as I tried to change myself, to rely on my own strength to overcome this great fear in me, I was hopeless, I couldn’t defeat it. In my most recent struggle against fear (this has been a lifelong battle, you see), God has used my weakness to remind me of HIS strength to overcome! He has again recalled to my mind and rekindled in my heart the understanding that His grace truly is sufficient for me, because His power is more completely revealed in my weakness (2 Cor. 12: 9). As I have rested in Christ, He has replaced my fear with His presence.
Therefore, I have reason to boast, but not in myself. Rather, I boast in my Savior, who is working a miracle within me. He is giving me abundant life in His name.