I couldn’t really label this as a “Lesson from Paul” because most of the scripture in this section was not from Paul. So bear with me as I’m a little crazy with titles.
The next section of chapter 3 of The Christian in Complete Armour is “How Not to Wrestle.” The previous section talked about our one on one wrestling match with Satan. It’s unavoidable, especially in the life of a Believer. But, as humans we sometimes wrestle against God. Isaiah 45:9 says “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker.” That’s a pretty serious warning. But, how often do we heed it?
- Do not wrestle against God’s Spirit
The writer points out that God could overcome or simply destroy man with a single word, but He doesn’t. He has great love for us. Any strife we have with God is simply that…WE do the wrestling. I love how the writer puts it:
His striving is a loving contest with us. Seeing us run at such a gallop headlong to our ruin, He sends His Spirit to pull us back before we destroy ourselves. This is the same kind of strife you would witness if someone were attempting to take his own life and another intervened and struggled to take the weapon from him.
The lusts of men are those bloody instruments of death with which sinners are harming themselves. The Holy Spirit strives to get them out of our hands and replace them with Christ’s grace and eternal life.
Awesome. Yet we are blinded by our own sin and often continue to resist.
- Do not wrestle against God’s Providence
We wrestle with God everytime we question His acts. I’ve read and re-read this section and could never word it better than the writer. (Please forgive me for quoting so much today)
Christians, take heed of this wrestling above all other. Contention is always unfortunate – whether with neighbors of friends, wife or husband – but worst of all with God.—Love cannot think any evil of God, nor endure to hear any evil spoken of Him.—Love will allow you to groan when afflicted, but not to grumble. When you complain, you reveal a mutinous spirit against God, and stab love to the heart.
Did that statement smack you in the face like it did me? I am so very blessed by God, but still complain way too much. Just this morning, I got out of my warm bed, curled up on my comfy couch, then said…”Man, these drafty windows and doors. I’m cold.” Not giving a second thought, until a friend posted a status about the poor homeless people in the city on this cold morning. Father, forgive my selfishness, forgive my sin!!!
- Do not wrestle by your own rules
Maybe you do not wrestle against God’s providence, and you do wrestle against sin. This seems commendable, but God requires more: You must wrestle by His rules and His alone.
This is a trap we all set for ourselves. Basically, ranking sin. “I would never murder, but a little white lie is ok.”
Some, while they wrestle against one sin, embrace another.—When malice wants revenge, craft says, ‘Hide your wrath – but do not forgive.’—The man who allows one sin to command another, and thus to rule his soul, cannot be God’s champion.
Are we willing to fully relinquish control to the Spirit? Can we truly let it go? ALL OF IT?
For a lust held in check but not discarded grows as wild as a trapped stallion. Finally conscience can no longer hold the reins nor sit in the saddle, but is thrown down. Then the lust ranges where it can have its fullest meal and will continue to gorge itself until conscience revives and runs to God for help.
I immediately think of a little corner of my heart that holds bitterness. It’s tiny, but has been known to grow out of control. Can I fully give it to God? **Challenge for me** We must allow God’s love, Christ’s love, mercy, grace take control and grow so that sin cannot survive.