Why Am I Still Struggling with the Same Old Things?

inwood Trott 

(Woodland Baptist Church)

 

A question came my way not long ago that has arisen often through the years. When a person has an addiction or sin issue and pleads for God deliverance, why doesn’t He take the problem away? Why after tears and years of pleading does God not instantly transform the sincere seeker?

God is greater than any sin or addiction. His plan for deliverance is known to Him and is not the same for every struggler. To say that God is a God of transformation is accurate. I would caution against any theology that dictates what that transformation must be. A victim may not be changed into a victor but he or she may be changed into a warrior.

Paul tells Timothy to fight the good fight of faith. Paul could not cure himself of his thorn in the flesh. It is strange that a man who raised the dead (Eutychus) could not heal himself of a chronic problem. God’s answer to Paul was, “My grace is sufficient.” Fatigue and seeming futility are weapons the enemy uses often to discourage. 

Loving God doesn’t obligate Him to act in a desired or predictable manner. As I read the Bible I am often amazed at the promises of sustaining grace (power, endurance and soundness of mind). Why do so many think God touches a life and the problems instantly disappear? Some, a very few, may experience instant deliverance but for the majority struggling is what God enables the person to do. Why would all of the promises for help be present if the transformation is instant? Without struggle or resistance no strength would be possible. 

I believe it is wrong to believe that God must deliver anyone from the struggle of living the Christian life. This life is supposed to be a struggle. Until each struggler embraces the reality of life long effort, they will be thinking God doesn’t love them or other disciple’s problems are easier. 

In struggling, we find victory and defeat. When I fail, I confess my sin and am forgiven and cleansed to move forward. Unbroken fellowship with God is what I desire; it is His desire too. My usefulness is the result of His work in me to prepare, equip and empower me to do His will.

I am saved by God’s grace through faith. God’s love has saved me from sins penalty (though I must live with the consequences). I am being saved from sin’s power as I fellowship with God and respond to temptation with the weapons He has provided (scripture, prayer, and a moment by moment approach to resisting temptation). I will be saved from sins’ presence in the world and in my life when I die or Jesus comes and claims me as His own. 

The Gospel is not the ultimate self-help or self-improvement message. It is a message of deliverance from sin and its accompanying problems and penalties. God promises to cure our individual problems completely one day, but not necessarily now, hence the struggle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 instructs me, “No temptation has come to you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but will with the temptation provide a way of escape so that you may be able to endure it.” God promises a way through it, not around, over or under it.

It saddens me to see so many who feel defeated and deficient. The deliverance God offers is real. To the defeated and discouraged I say, God’s love for you has not changed; it is not inadequate. His love can’t increase or decrease. We are on a journey. The destination is sure. God will complete what He has begun in you and me. Each day we are presented with enough grace (power) for that day. All we need for life and godliness is provided. We must use the resources.

The final solution to our struggle is in the future. For now we must live with consequences and fight the good fight. With God in my life, no failure is final. My hope is that God will become real to you in a new, sustaining way.