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FollowerOfTheWay

The constant spiritual battle

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Becoming a Christian is not that easy. You step into a spiritual battle, a battle that you were blind to before you came into faith. But now you see it and you want to be spiritually sober and vigilant in the Spirit, so to not be beaten by evil forces and the fleshly tendencies: sin. I don´t think a Christian can ever rest. As long as you are in this fallen body, in this world in which Satan is deceiving everyone, you need to keep battling for your soul. You have the sword of the Truth and the shield of faith. 

I simply don´t think it is enough to just receive Jesus once and then think it will all turn out for the good automatically (correct me if I am biblically wrong here): I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment, to choose love and righteousness over sin. For if you don´t, you fall into the grip of sin, and I think that is really not how a Christian should live.

This is what I see now, a constant battle, but for an ultimately good reason: to win eternal life.

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

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36 minutes ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

I simply don´t think it is enough to just receive Jesus once and then think it will all turn out for the good automatically (correct me if I am biblically wrong here): I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment, to choose love and righteousness over sin. For if you don´t, you fall into the grip of sin, and I think that is really not how a Christian should live.

This is what I see now, a constant battle, but for an ultimately good reason: to win eternal life.

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

Follower "I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment"

I chose only once, before I was saved. But if I misunderstood you, yes, we have to chose every moment, to act/witness that we are saved.
Follower 
"Can a Christian ever rest?"
Yes.
Matt 11,28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We rest in the confidence that Christ is always with us.  "I live, but not I, but Christ in me"   cool, huh!

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1 hour ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

Becoming a Christian is not that easy. You step into a spiritual battle, a battle that you were blind to before you came into faith. But now you see it and you want to be spiritually sober and vigilant in the Spirit, so to not be beaten by evil forces and the fleshly tendencies: sin. I don´t think a Christian can ever rest. As long as you are in this fallen body, in this world in which Satan is deceiving everyone, you need to keep battling for your soul. You have the sword of the Truth and the shield of faith. 

I simply don´t think it is enough to just receive Jesus once and then think it will all turn out for the good automatically (correct me if I am biblically wrong here): I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment, to choose love and righteousness over sin. For if you don´t, you fall into the grip of sin, and I think that is really not how a Christian should live.

This is what I see now, a constant battle, but for an ultimately good reason: to win eternal life.

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

I believe we are born again once, and given a new nature and new desires to please the Lord, we are to walk in that manner. It is a battle, as we daily encounter lies and temptations that would turn our heart from God.

We are to rest/trust in Him now even while the battle rages, yet one day we will enter a permanent rest free from the presence of sin, satan, our flesh and this world.

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1 hour ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

Becoming a Christian is not that easy. You step into a spiritual battle, a battle that you were blind to before you came into faith. But now you see it and you want to be spiritually sober and vigilant in the Spirit, so to not be beaten by evil forces and the fleshly tendencies: sin. I don´t think a Christian can ever rest. As long as you are in this fallen body, in this world in which Satan is deceiving everyone, you need to keep battling for your soul. You have the sword of the Truth and the shield of faith. 

I simply don´t think it is enough to just receive Jesus once and then think it will all turn out for the good automatically (correct me if I am biblically wrong here): I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment, to choose love and righteousness over sin. For if you don´t, you fall into the grip of sin, and I think that is really not how a Christian should live.

This is what I see now, a constant battle, but for an ultimately good reason: to win eternal life.

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

I like what you said here:

Becoming a Christian is not that easy. You step into a spiritual battle, a battle that you were blind to before you came into faith.

People are exasperated trying to live in that battle and trying to understand why life is so hard........because we are caught up in worldly pursuits and don't see how we are suckered into thinking about everything but God, we're too busy trying to control everything.

Half of winning the battle is realizing we are in it, and can't win it.....the other half is giving up on trying to win it from our own thoughts and decisions and turning to the Lord.....it's like sitting down after standing all day (sound of a jet engine shutting down here).

I was in the same boat as you when I first became a Christian frustrated with all the wrong doing and temptation. I found with time though 2 things happened 1) doing the right thing became easier and easier as I learned one step at a time, first this...got it, now this...got it, now this 2) I became more patient with those around that were still caught up in the worldly life and realized, hey, I'm not as strung out as them anymore hmmmmm this Christian thing has actually relieved a lot of the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses.

Unfortunately every once in a while I find myself down at the dock and launching that boat again.

Jesus will take a lot of the work and stress out of the battle if we learn to change the station and tune into him.

Paul calls it "working out or salvation"  (Php 2:12) We're saved, that's a done deal, but now, knowing what we know and learning, we start to work that salvations effect in us out into our life, into the world around us. Yea I agree it can be hard sometimes.

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Thank you all for your answers. They gave me a bit of a new perspective.

I now understand that one of the most important things is that we focus our attention on Jesus and he will lead us out of our negativities.

But I think to have faith can be the very thing that can be a battle, and that can be the most dangerous battle, for what if you lose your faith?

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18 hours ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

Many Christians have a view of Christianity as being step 1. Jesus forgives us, step 2. we try hard not to sin anymore.    I think that a more biblical view is step 1. Jesus forgives us.  step 2.  God transforms us into new creations for whom good works is a natural outflow.

My observation over the years is that we seem to have 3 general categories of sins and behaviors we deal with.  

The first are the things that are trivially under our control that we just make up our mind to do something different and do it.  We stop stealing.  We decide to hang around other Christians more.  We decide to pray more.  We decide to give up things that aren't healthy for us.

The second are things that maturity and growth change over time.  As in Gal 5:22-23, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, are fruit of the Spirit that emerge and grow in our lives as God changes us.  This is not about taking an anger management class to learn methods and techniques to be more patient;  it is about being changed so that we are simply no longer angry.  These are not behaviors we "learn" to do.  They are characteristics that emerge in our life due to spiritual maturity and growth.

The third are the addictions and besetting sins and behaviors that we simply cannot fight successfully on our own.  These often require God's healing and intervention in some way.  We can mitigate behavior to reduce harm (e.g. an alcoholic taking steps to reduce alcohol consumption), but the draw and pull is still there.   My sense is that many of these things are symptoms of deep spiritual and emotional trauma and injuries that we carry around.  These are things that require God's healing to become free of.  I've heard testimonies of instantaneous healings of deep hurts that resulted in huge behavioral changes and freedom.  I've heard testimonies of slow ongoing healing from walking alongside a pastor or counselor in prayer for a length of time.

Often, I've seen Christians excessively worry about things in the second and third category and try to fix those things in their own strength.  We often start in the Spirit and then try to finish in the flesh.  I think that the key thing is focusing on what God wants us to focus on.  Often our attention gets focused on what we think are our greatest failings and feel like we need to resolve those to be good Christians and remain in right standing with God.  Usually God wants us focused on the things that help us to grow spiritually and learn to walk more closely with Him.  

In hindsight, many of the things I was most concerned with as a younger Christian became things that simply and naturally dropped out of my life later as I grew and as God simply did miraculous things that healed and changed me.  The biggest piece of advice I would give is learn who God wants you to be and learn to walk with God as that unique individual He created you to be.  By that, I do not mean merely figure out your gifts, talents, and callings, but rather, at a deeper fundamental level, who are you?  When you look in the mirror, who is that unique creation of God looking back at you?  I spent decades being a good Christian, a good father, a good husband, a good employee, a good church member, a faithful steward of God's gifts.  I reached a point where my entire identity was wrapped up in doing the right things for God.  Over a period of time, He pulled me out of the busyness, put me in front of a mirror, and I had no clue who I was looking at.  Over the next year or so, He slowly took me on a journey of discovering who He wanted me to be.  Since then, I've found that spiritual life more naturally flows in my life.  Instead of striving and working hard to accomplish things, it's more like I just sit back and watch God do things.  This did not happen overnight, but I think that this is the type of growth and direction God has for all of us.  It is about letting Him transform us into the unique individuals He intends for us to be.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

what if you lose your faith?

Don't.

Start the day with God, spend the day with God, giving thanks to God in all things of the day in all the little things and the big things. Give thanks for the day to God. Faith will grow to where it cannot be forgotten for it will become bigger than self ever has been. Read the world of God, think about the word of God, pray over the word of God the Bible. Never presume the word. Learn the word of God so that it comes to mind in all situations. 

Never give the little antichrists those ministers of distraction away from God an even break. Give them no break at all, the naysayers the lamenters the well God should have told His own to do it this way and that way, as they all are seeking company for their own misery, have nothing to do with that. And, don't go about seeking misery for yourself!

Enjoy the gift that has been given, salvation from what is due because of sin, for Jesus has already paid the price of sin in full for all those that believe on His faith, believing He suffered our shame, died for us, descended, arose again resurrected, and then after teaching forty days He ascended to His Father, and is preparing  a place for His bride the church, His church. He has left His own the comforter the Holy Spirit until He returns so that His own may endure this time. He will come again when His Father declares the honeymoon cottage for his bride is ready. Even he does not know the time, but He will soon come come in haste, without warning to his bride.

Be prepared alway. The Groom will be coming! Never ever give way any of the oil of your bedside lamp be ready for the wedding ceremony  and celebration.

 

And in the meantime; Being a soldier in Christ Jesus, in His army is not a hard discipline for the Holy Spirit makes it so. Call always upon the Holy Spirit to enlighten as the word of God is read prayed about and practiced in word and in deed.

Rejoice rejoice rejoice in God and marvel at the privilege extended by God to be  born again, to be one of the flock of Jesus who never loses a one given him by His Father.

Maranatha.

Do not buy into faith is hard, faith is pretty easy once placed in Christ Jesus, enabled by the Holy Spirit. It is hard to deny the Holy Spirit's call to faith, fatal even. So hear, heed, read, pray, think pray, act in concert with the word as studied and prayed and thought about, then keep the word in your heart. Make your feet follow the path set forth and again rejoice for it is awesome this faith of Jesus, His gospel of the Good News!

 

 

Edited by Neighbor

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1 hour ago, FollowerOfTheWay said:

what if you lose your faith?

Ultimately faith is our trust and confidence in God. It's not managing to eliminate doubt on our part nor trying to stoke up strong emotions on our own.  It is a result of getting to know God more and more.  I've seen many Christians who inadvertently let their faith start resting in things other than God Himself.  I've seen Christians start trusting their church, their interpretation of the Bible, their day to day feelings, particular Christians, the details of what they believe, and other such things.  Then when one of those things fails them or is found to be in error or comes under fire, their "faith" is shaken because it was in something other than God.   Indeed, I sometimes wonder if God sometimes intentionally shakes those things Himself in order to draw our attention back to Him.

My observation is that trust and confidence in God as a Person is something that grows over time as we see what He does in our lives and other people's lives.  It's something that simply grows more and more over weeks, months, years, and decades of seeing His hand in our lives. 

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On 8/21/2018 at 3:01 PM, GandalfTheWise said:

Many Christians have a view of Christianity as being step 1. Jesus forgives us, step 2. we try hard not to sin anymore.    I think that a more biblical view is step 1. Jesus forgives us.  step 2.  God transforms us into new creations for whom good works is a natural outflow.

My observation over the years is that we seem to have 3 general categories of sins and behaviors we deal with.  

The first are the things that are trivially under our control that we just make up our mind to do something different and do it.  We stop stealing.  We decide to hang around other Christians more.  We decide to pray more.  We decide to give up things that aren't healthy for us.

The second are things that maturity and growth change over time.  As in Gal 5:22-23, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, are fruit of the Spirit that emerge and grow in our lives as God changes us.  This is not about taking an anger management class to learn methods and techniques to be more patient;  it is about being changed so that we are simply no longer angry.  These are not behaviors we "learn" to do.  They are characteristics that emerge in our life due to spiritual maturity and growth.

The third are the addictions and besetting sins and behaviors that we simply cannot fight successfully on our own.  These often require God's healing and intervention in some way.  We can mitigate behavior to reduce harm (e.g. an alcoholic taking steps to reduce alcohol consumption), but the draw and pull is still there.   My sense is that many of these things are symptoms of deep spiritual and emotional trauma and injuries that we carry around.  These are things that require God's healing to become free of.  I've heard testimonies of instantaneous healings of deep hurts that resulted in huge behavioral changes and freedom.  I've heard testimonies of slow ongoing healing from walking alongside a pastor or counselor in prayer for a length of time.

Often, I've seen Christians excessively worry about things in the second and third category and try to fix those things in their own strength.  We often start in the Spirit and then try to finish in the flesh.  I think that the key thing is focusing on what God wants us to focus on.  Often our attention gets focused on what we think are our greatest failings and feel like we need to resolve those to be good Christians and remain in right standing with God.  Usually God wants us focused on the things that help us to grow spiritually and learn to walk more closely with Him.  

In hindsight, many of the things I was most concerned with as a younger Christian became things that simply and naturally dropped out of my life later as I grew and as God simply did miraculous things that healed and changed me.  The biggest piece of advice I would give is learn who God wants you to be and learn to walk with God as that unique individual He created you to be.  By that, I do not mean merely figure out your gifts, talents, and callings, but rather, at a deeper fundamental level, who are you?  When you look in the mirror, who is that unique creation of God looking back at you?  I spent decades being a good Christian, a good father, a good husband, a good employee, a good church member, a faithful steward of God's gifts.  I reached a point where my entire identity was wrapped up in doing the right things for God.  Over a period of time, He pulled me out of the busyness, put me in front of a mirror, and I had no clue who I was looking at.  Over the next year or so, He slowly took me on a journey of discovering who He wanted me to be.  Since then, I've found that spiritual life more naturally flows in my life.  Instead of striving and working hard to accomplish things, it's more like I just sit back and watch God do things.  This did not happen overnight, but I think that this is the type of growth and direction God has for all of us.  It is about letting Him transform us into the unique individuals He intends for us to be.

 

 

On 8/21/2018 at 3:51 PM, GandalfTheWise said:

Ultimately faith is our trust and confidence in God. It's not managing to eliminate doubt on our part nor trying to stoke up strong emotions on our own.  It is a result of getting to know God more and more.  I've seen many Christians who inadvertently let their faith start resting in things other than God Himself.  I've seen Christians start trusting their church, their interpretation of the Bible, their day to day feelings, particular Christians, the details of what they believe, and other such things.  Then when one of those things fails them or is found to be in error or comes under fire, their "faith" is shaken because it was in something other than God.   Indeed, I sometimes wonder if God sometimes intentionally shakes those things Himself in order to draw our attention back to Him.

My observation is that trust and confidence in God as a Person is something that grows over time as we see what He does in our lives and other people's lives.  It's something that simply grows more and more over weeks, months, years, and decades of seeing His hand in our lives. 

Thank you both very much for your words! Very enlightening!

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On 8/20/2018 at 11:34 AM, FollowerOfTheWay said:

Becoming a Christian is not that easy. You step into a spiritual battle, a battle that you were blind to before you came into faith. But now you see it and you want to be spiritually sober and vigilant in the Spirit, so to not be beaten by evil forces and the fleshly tendencies: sin. I don´t think a Christian can ever rest. As long as you are in this fallen body, in this world in which Satan is deceiving everyone, you need to keep battling for your soul. You have the sword of the Truth and the shield of faith. 

I simply don´t think it is enough to just receive Jesus once and then think it will all turn out for the good automatically (correct me if I am biblically wrong here): I think you also have to choose to be saved in every moment, to choose love and righteousness over sin. For if you don´t, you fall into the grip of sin, and I think that is really not how a Christian should live.

This is what I see now, a constant battle, but for an ultimately good reason: to win eternal life.

Thoughts? Can a Christian ever rest? Of course, in heaven. But here?

Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

As long as we're in our sinful corrupt flesh, we will struggle with our thoughts, lusts of the flesh and of course the above. 

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