Do you ever have those moments where you hear something and you agree with it, but for some reason you also disagree with it. Just me? Well I guess that makes sense. But I am always in one way or another a conflicted person. But I ultimately think that in one way or another that is how life is to be lived. At least the life lived by faith. There was something I heard recently regarding our walk with God and I agreed with it, but at the same time felt that there was more to it. You see I think faith could possibly be defined as a struggle with the Divine. Not in an attempt to overcome, but rather in a struggle to comprehend in order to become like. In fact it was this very struggle where we, mankind first fell. In the garden we wanted to be like God so much we disobeyed. We thought there was an easy way…But becoming Christ like is so much more than a one time decision.
Take Jacob for instance. I love his wrestling match at Peniel, “In this corner weighing in at around 135lbs Jacob, Son of Isaac and in this corner unnamed Angel weighing in at a unknown celestial weight…”. Okay, maybe that is a bit much. But Jacob so struggled with the Divine and finding his place in YHWH’s will that his very name became Israel. His name literally meant to fight, to struggle. And this was not only his name, but the name of the Nation that came after him. The people of God strive with God, struggle with God, walk with God.
I say all this to say that I don’t think walking with the Divine is ever easy. I believe to comprehend what God has for us and beyond that to practice it is a constant struggle. That’s why the apostle Paul uses words like race, struggle, fight, etc. Because that’s what this is. At the end of Philippians chapter one we read, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.” This description by Paul about the struggle becomes the segue for one of the most amazing pieces of scripture as to what our struggle is all about in chapter two. Our struggle…to be like Christ. This is what we are called to…and I am so thankful and frustrated that it is not easy.
In a novel I have been reading recently I came across the following quote, “It was said that pilgrims should not spend too much time planning their journey, for they might learn of so many hazards that they would decide not to go.”* This is often the case for our journey with Christ as well. There is a struggle ahead of us, but the journey and the striving leads us into becoming like Christ until with are with Him forever. So struggle on…
* Follett, Ken (2010-07-27). World Without End (p. 60). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
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