An area that I am continuing to be challenged in all through my walk of faith is how honest I am with myself and with others. When I struggle, just as every person does, ignoring them does no good. Trying to act as if we do not experience struggles only ends up in ignorance. We simply repress the thoughts we want to root out of our mind and they are bound to return. Honesty with ourselves and others is vital to our success when dealing with our struggles. We were created to be in community with one another (1 John 1:7). Therefore, through processing our thoughts and struggles with the right people, we can experience the true freedom that Christ offers (John 8:36). However, oftentimes I worry too much about my outward image and not enough about the condition of my heart. I struggle with this because I worry about what others will think of me instead of resting in my identity in Christ. What would people think if they knew me, not just from my outward actions, but from the condition of my heart? As we start to move more into the person that God has created us to be, beloved and forgiven (1 John 4:10), confidence starts to grow and our value should move away from what people think of us and more towards what our identity in Christ is. Everyone goes through struggles, but it is what we do with those struggles and temptations that reveal our character.
Although we all come from different pasts with varying temptations, our pursuit of biblical holiness is what unites us. I am continuing to learn that despite my temptations and struggles, God has given me the knowledge to make holy and God-honoring decisions. Actions precede feelings. Praise God that we do not need to make decisions based solely on our feelings, because when we are amidst the waves of our intense emotions, it’s hard to tell which direction we should go. But when we lift our eyes to the horizon, over the waves, we can know the way that God has called us to go (Psalm 143:8). Oftentimes, I feel as if I call out to God to fix my problems and struggles and I want Him to do so with the snap of a finger. I desire drive-thru peace and instant hope. However, God has greater plans in not simply removing these issues, but instead, He is giving me the tools and community to help me work on my issues and bring them to light. The result is growth in my character and wisdom in how to tame my wayward heart. Therefore, a substantial instrument to my growth is how honest I am with myself and with others. I desire to fix problems by myself, but God has put others in my life for a reason. We are meant to do life together. Therefore, I am learning to be transparent and to accept help from others when I need it. I am learning that there is a solution to our tiring efforts of trying to keep up our image in front of others. It comes through being honest with others about where we are really at. When you humble yourself to the point of confession, God will be able to start working in your heart and help you develop into the man or woman of God He desires you to be (Hebrews 6:1).
Struggles and temptations sometimes come out of the blue, or they may be caused by events that we can no longer go back in time and change. Therefore, we should remember that the most admirable characteristic that defines a person is not the struggles that they go through, but instead their willingness to be honest, vulnerable, and teachable in dealing with these various challenges that are part of life. Our recognition of the fact that we do not have control and that we are under the power, love, and grace of God starts us on a journey that will build our character based on the firm foundation of God’s Word.
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