Letting Go of Striving

I’ve been in a dark place of defeat, failure, and doubts with a weight bearing down on me. Crushed in spirit. Doubting, disliking who I am. Focusing on my sin nature, the “old self.”

What’s changed? I’m focusing on who I am in Christ, on the “new” self. I’m crucified with Christ. That old self no longer lives. I’m free to rise above, to ignore, the pull of the flesh. I’m free to act on what I know is true and not on what my flesh desires. I’m a new creation, walking by faith.

If I lose faith, the old nature rears its ugly head. If I think I can indulge the flesh “just a little,” I deceive myself and the flesh pulls me down. Lies bind me hand and foot. But those bonds are an illusion, working only as long as I’m depending on “my” goodness or ability instead of the power of Christ in me. Christ in me is my hope of glory.

Walking in the Spirit, I won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. Walking in my effort, wanting my flesh to be “good,” fearing I’m a failure and incapable of loving or serving God, I fall on my face. Defeat, depression, and doubt trap me. Believing I’m doomed to be conquered by my sinful nature, I yield to the temptations of selfishness and pride, and I struggle to genuinely love others.

My spirit loves God. I want to love others. I hate selfish, ugly thoughts. I hate acting rudely or missing opportunities to show grace. Christ lives in me. I want Him to reign in me. Jesus said to follow Him, I have to die to self every day. I must die to wanting my own goodness and let His goodness shine through me. I die to wanting glory for myself and live to bring Him glory. I humble myself and stop striving to be pleasing, good, popular, smart, funny or whatever, accepting all I need is to be yielded to Him so that He works in me producing His fruit. Love is His fruit, not mine.

I can’t bear to remain weighed down by my weaknesses and failures, walking with an oppressed spirit. At times my life was flashing before my eyes: only it was all the times I failed. What ingratitude! The grace of Jesus has washed away my sin! I’m cleansed by His blood. He set me free to live in freedom: not to walk around like a slave. I’m no longer a slave. I’m His beloved daughter, chosen by Him.

Grumpiness has been simmering in me: getting irritated at every little thing. Grumbling, complaining, cursing. That’s not the place of joy He wants me to have or the abundant life He came to give. My heart was made to praise Him, worship Him, thank Him. Dying daily feels impossible, but I want to repent. I want to stop seeking for myself. By His grace and in His power, I’ll die to self so I can live for Him.

Jesus, Thank you that I belong to you. I believe in you with all my heart. I repent of striving to please my flesh: of grasping for or trying to prove that I can be good. I repent of wanting to be good. The truth is that you are the one who is good. You are the one who deserves all glory and praise. Holy Spirit, please fill me. Help me to walk in step with you. Help me to have faith in your goodness and to trust your love. Thank you for making me the way you did. I trust your sovereign plan. Have your way in me.

“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6:6-7 (ESV)

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 (ESV)

Susan Aken

Susan is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church! https://susanaken53.wordpress.com/ http://susanakenphotos.wordpress.com/ http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/susanaken

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