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The battle rages within our hearts. We scrabble and crumble depending on the circumstance. If we’re feeling strong we get our scrappy little fists in the fight and knock the enemy out of the ring. We crumble when we receive an unexpected hit. It could be that pride sneaks from behind and knocks us off our feet and we lay stunned.
The battles within eventually get reflected into our visible lives because we’re who we are on the inside not what we display. If we struggle with submission to authority, but put on a submissive front, eventually a reaction will reveal the struggle. Pride shows up in a judgmental comment or a refusal to believe that God has chosen and loves you.
Our circumstances are distractions to the battles that rage in our hearts. Once we surrender our lives to Christ the real battle begins between the Spirit and the Flesh. Oftentimes I think of the flesh as my rebel self because I don’t seem to do what I know is right no matter how hard I try. But let’s flip the switch: The Spirit part of ourselves is our rebel heart.
Was Jesus a rebel? Some say he was. I say he was on a mission to reveal the Father’s heart to humanity and people have tried to pigeon-hole God and figure him out and make him like us: Easily swayed. Petulant. Angry. Abusive. Double-minded. And so man set up rules and regulations to follow in order to make God understandable and malleable. “If I do A, B, and C then God will do X, Y, and Z.”
The Rebel Heart
We need a rebel heart because the status quo threatens to lead us to apathy.
A rebel heart is our best defense against me-ism.
Ours is a heart divided: we have the heart of the spirit and the heart of the flesh. So often the flesh rebels against the spirit, but let’s flip that concept upside down. Let’s give the spirit permission to rebel against the flesh.
Once we surrender our lives to Christ we are given new hearts. God writes his heart on ours and places himself within us. However, the flesh still lives and needs to be crucified each day. This is why we need a rebel heart.
A heart that’s fully surrendered to Christ becomes a rebel heart. A heart that rebels against the status quo, the pride of life, lust of the eyes, and the flesh. A rebel heart doesn’t allow the flesh to take back the victory found in Christ.
I rebel against my flesh. I rebel against apathy. And I run straight towards God. There’s an insurrection with in my heart and the Spirit stakes His claim and turns my selfishness into generosity, my judgement into kindness, and my fear into trust.
The rebel heart wins when it’s strength and comfort is found in God. He is our help in times of trouble. He is our way of escape when we’re tempted. God is our commander and he is directing the greatest army in all creation. God leads us beside still waters where our hearts are refreshed and he also leads us into the battle where victory is assured.
We’re in this fight together. We face different challenges, but we serve the same God who arms us with his strength and makes our footsteps firm. I’m praying for you and would love to hear how your fight is going. You can email me at email@example.com, write a comment here, or subscribe to receive weekly notes of encouragement in your day to day battle of transformation.
Our world is in distress. It’s like I can hear it gasping for breath and flatlining as disaster after disaster overtakes. Yet within the disaster is a unifying, rallying cry of the human spirit. Collectively, we turn to the One who holds our hearts in his hand.
God is my refuge. He is my safe place, my rock and my salvation. He lifts my head when I cannot hold it up. I run to him and he hears my cry. He is my God and my Savior. Is he yours?
Do you turn to him when the world collapses? Or do you turn to your strength? When I face insurmountable odds, I’m reminded anew how weak I am and how strong he is. Fire. Flood. Health. Disappointment. Heartache. Failed relationships.
Life doesn’t make sense, and sometimes God doesn’t make sense. However, if we have ears to hear and eyes to see and a heart that runs to him, he reveals himself. The mystery unravels and new depths of God’s truth is deposited in our hearts.
He is our rock and our refuge, but we have to run to him. When literal storms come we head for shelter, and when emotional storms come, God is our best shelter. Sometimes his rescue doesn’t come in the form of removing us from the situation, but comes in the form of refuge.
He is our shield and our defense. We align our lives with his and find comfort and rescue even when our lives fall apart. I don’t understand why we’re facing so much natural devastation. It could be that the earth is crying out, the rocks are praising him, and the seas are roaring because we’ve failed to praise him. But I refuse to explain the reason for the multitude of disasters this world is experiencing, because God’s ways and thoughts are not mine.
But what I am willing to explain is this: God is for us not against. He is just and kind. His heart beats passionately for us and he is the safest place for us.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a prayer for all of us facing life changing circumstances. Today I wanted to give you the prayer in a printable form so that you can see the reminders of God’s love before you. I know what it’s like to need those visual reminders of God’s goodness because sometimes the circumstances seem so large.
Please click the link for access to a printable pdf:
Praying for all of us,
Friends, A disclaimer:
I do not presume to claim that I have marriage figured out. But I do claim that with God at the center, he is able to guide us through. I know that marriage is a beautiful hard. It’s beautiful because it’s a picture of God and his church. It’s hard because it’s two imperfect humans on the road to sanctification.
I’ve joined 29 other bloggers at Tiffany Montgomery’s blog for a month long series on marriage. Women will be sharing their snippets of wisdom through their ups and downs of marriage. Friends, it’s good stuff. Your heart will be touched.
Twenty years ago, I (Jessica Van Roekel) brought heavy baggage and high expectations into my marriage. Since then, I’ve discovered that God uses everything to build a marriage that glorifies him. Our strengths, weaknesses, expectations and disappointments all work together to show His Greatness in this marriage puzzle.
Does Marriage Feel like a puzzle?
We had differing expectations and ways to solve problems. We were determined to build our marriage following different “puzzle box tops.” Once we surrendered control to God, we learned that God was creating a new puzzle.
- God threw out the pieces that didn’t fit.
- He refitted things
- Tossed new pieces into the puzzle
And waited until we relinquished a cherished puzzle piece to create a beautiful masterpiece.
The Mystery Puzzle Piece….read more here