What’s the point of trying to stay on the straight and narrow when I know that at some point I will sin again? Why is it so difficult to stay pure of mind, body and heart? If I call myself a Christian, if I believe that Jesus came, died and rose for me so that I might have eternal life, why do I still reject Him?
The funny thing is when I pray and spend time with the Lord (whether it be in a quiet hour, praise and worship session, or in church) I feel joyful and at peace. The depth of that joy and peace vary, but I have found that the more time I spend with the Lord, the happier I am. So this begs the question: Why do I still sin? Why do I drag my feet some days to go to church or to spend 30 minutes in prayer with my Savior?
After contemplating this for the past couple of weeks, I’ve discerned that the reason I still struggle with prayer, the reason I find it so hard to kick some sinful habits, is not because I don’t believe that Christ is my Savior. It’s not because I don’t believe the Lord has done anything in my life. It’s not because I doubt the truths of my faith.
The reason I struggle is because I am still alive. I haven’t died. I am still living for Zach. Sure, Jesus is in there, but if it’s between doing something Jesus’ way and doing something Zach’s way, I find that I choose Zach’s way more.
Some days are better than others. It’s easier to “feel God” when you’re in a nice huddle with a bunch of Christians, singing praise and worship songs. It’s easy to “surrender” all of your worries and fears during a spiritual high. It’s easy to ask Jesus to clean out all the junk you’ve been filling yourself with and replace it with His grace and His Holy Spirit when you feel Him almost tangibly.
It’s hard when you’re alone, though. It’s hard when you’re in a crowd of people who don’t share your beliefs. It’s hard when close friends decide to walk a different path than you and don’t seem to see spreading the love of Christ as something worth their time. It’s hard when you’re young. The world is so freaking attractive at times!
Some days I find myself wondering if living for the Lord is even worth it.
But then I remember that it’s not about me. Thank God it’s not about me! I didn’t create myself. I did not choose to be born into this world. This gift of life I have been graced with is by no means an opportunity to glorify and please myself; it is quite the contrary. We were born into this world because for whatever reason, Jesus desired that we help Him build His kingdom. This life is a GIFT. It was given to us freely, and you know what’s amazing? Jesus not only gave us life and a mission, He gave us the freedom to decide whether or not we would accept that mission. How incredible is that?
You know what else is remarkable? He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and guide us as we fulfill His mission. Christ actually lives in us! He loves us that much.
So when I struggle, when I fall into sin, it’s because I am choosing to live for the flesh of Zach rather than for the Christ in Zach. I’m choosing to focus on glorifying me rather than working to glorify Him. Rather than fighting the temptation or trusting God’s way, I wind up trusting the flesh of Zach and giving into what’s easy, what’s comfortable and what I want.
In my prayer times recently, I have been asking the Lord to help me die to myself so that I might truly live for Him. What I’ve learned (and Lord knows I have a lot to still learn) is that dying to myself and the desires of my flesh is not something I need to do every once in awhile. It’s something I need to do each and every day. It’s how I need to start every day, and it’s how I need to end every day.
My biggest fear in dying to myself daily was that I would “lose what I liked about myself” (haha), but what I’ve found is the opposite. I’ve found that slowly but surely I am becoming the guy that I think our Father created me to be. The funny thing is all things considered I haven’t really lost anything, but I’ve gained quite a bit. Pray for me as I strive to die to myself daily so that Christ might fully and constantly radiate through me.
Zach Busekrus is a social media marketer in the DC Metro area who enjoys telling people about Jesus, building community and brainstorming tangible ways in which to change the world. Connect with Zach on twitter @Zboozee and/or by reading his blog An Unexpected Year.
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