Giving up and giving in

Like many people on this earth, I struggle with things from time to time. I try, and I try to make changes, to do the things that the Lord has laid on my heart, to do the things that I know are in my best interest to do. But it seems that the harder that I try, the less progress that is made. Matter of fact, in some cases I will fall further backwards. I get angry and fustrated with myself because I know what I need to do but yet I do not do it. Then the condemnation comes into play and I start feeling really bad about myself. And of course the enemy loves to use condemnation as a tool to try to defeat us and drag us down into a deep dark pit full of shame, guilt, regret, and hopelessness. He knows that if he can fill our heads with condemning thoughts about ourselves we are more likely to fall further back, or at the very least, we will stay right where we are, making no progress at all towards our needs, wants, or goals.

For several years I was battling condemnation for some things that I was doing that I knew God did not want me doing because they were not in the best interest of me. He knew, and I knew, that they were things that were keeping me from being at my best and having the peace and joy that I so wanted. When God first laid these things on my heart I was filled with repentance and a Godly sorrow for my actions. I asked for forgiveness and said that I was going to change my actions. Well the more that I would have the thoughts of needing to stop the actions, the more the desire to do the actions arose in my flesh. I would say that I am no longer going to do this or that and within 15 minutes I found myself doing them. I would say that I was going to make a change only to keep doing the things that I was suppose to be changing. I would pray that I really wanted to stop doing these things that were not giving me life and ask for God to help me to stop them. I would talk and talk with God about the things that were hindering my walk with Him, hindering my progress to a better life, and hindering any growth within me. I did not want to keep doing the things that I was doing, but yet I kept doing them. I knew that they were stealing my peace and my joy, but yet I continued on with them. I would lay in bed and say to myself, “what is wrong with you? You know that you are only hurting yourself and you are the cause of your pain and unhappiness. Why can’t you just stop the things that you know that you should stop and start the things that you know you should start?” I had this talk and this kind of prayer with God daily for a very long time with no change at all.

Well one night as I was talking with God about the situation as usual, I finally had something come to my heart. “Give up on yourself and give into me” are the words that first came to me. Suddenly I remembered that when I first began my serious walk with God and I began to live the life that He had planned for me I had told him that I had tried doing life my way and was getting no where so I was going to try things His way and see what happened. I had a touch from God that night that enabled me to release myself from my own will and to rely on Him instead of myself. I was given a understanding that night when I told Him that I was going to try things His way that made me give up on myself and give into Him. I was totally released from myself, from trying to do anything by myself, and from listening to my own voice. I was given a knowing that my way of doing things were not going to bring about the life that I desired and if I continued to do things the way that I had been doing them then nothing good was going to come of my life. I believe that I was freed from myself that night. But like many of the people in the bible, I enslaved myself once again to myself and ended up right back where I started.

I somewhere along the way lost sight of the freedom that God had given me. Because of the fall backs into things that God had delivered me from and the sinful nature that had began to work in me again, I fell back into the works of the law somehow and began to feel like I had to “earn” God back. I felt like He had to be mad at me because I allowed sin back into my life and I was being disobedient to Him. And of course the enemy used the situation to put lies into my head and to put heavy condemnation on my heart. It ended up putting me into a dark place for a couple of years but it has been in that dark place that I have learned things that I would not have learned anywhere else.

When God spoke the words, “give up on you and give into me,” that was the freeing moment that I had been looking for. When He brought to my rememberance the first time that I had done that and the freedom that came along with it I finally understood what had became the problem. I had gone back to relying on myself again. I had started to only hear myself again. I had lost sight of the freedom that Jesus has given me from myself. I had lost sight of the fact that I am partners with Jesus and He will lead me along the best path that I should take but it is my choice to follow or not. I had forgot just how dangerous I was to myself and my well being. I had forgot that I will always have a sinful nature within me that will want it’s way at times but all I have to do is say no to it. I had lost sight of the fact that if I simply ignore myself, my own selfish desires, and follow Jesus, then I will have the best that I can have in all areas of life. The weight that was lifted off of me from the pressure of feeling like I had to fix myself by myself was liberating.

When we try to fix ourselves by ourselves we will always run into trouble. We may be successful for a little while but true deliverance comes from working with God. Anything that we need or want to change is possible if we lean on the grace of God. But as long as we only look to ourselves to make the changes we will have frustration and failed attempts. God wants to help us gain victory over our lives. He wants to help us kick that bad habit that has been tripping us up for so long. He wants to help us stop that sin that is causing death to our spirit so that we can be the best that we can be. All that He ask is that we give up on ourselves and give into Him.