Journal Entry // June 15, 2022
asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.Acts 25:3 ESV
There will be trouble in this world. Sometimes this trouble will be the consequences of our own sin and error; sometimes this trouble will be unfairly brought against us simply because of our faith in Jesus Christ. I have found it difficult at times to discern the proper way to respond in these situations, because I am conflicted about my sin. I can see that I am being unfairly treated in a situation, but I struggle to make a defense because of my personal sin and failure that has played a part. So I find myself caught at times not wanting to defend myself and allowing the trouble or adversity to prevail as a form of punishment for my sin in general.
I have been thinking about this off and on for several years but have not really come to a good conclusion of how I should respond. I read passages like this one where Paul was clearly being persecuted by the Jewish leaders for the message he was bringing and Paul could more readily see that this persecution was not brought in any form as a result of any sin on his part. For me, I see this mix of my sin leading me astray. My sin provoking thoughts and desires that are contrary to the ways of God. These thoughts and desires then influencing my actions in minor ways to begin with. So I can see the influence of sin working to lead me astray and I can battle and fight to not go astray.
So when there is some form of difficulty brought upon me, I have this guilt of sinful influence that whispers my shameful wants and desires to me. Accusing me. Bringing me low. In my mind I can make the leap to say that I deserve this hardship even if it is unfairly brought because my sinful heart is hopelessly dark. I am far too easily morose and given over to failure. I give sin far more power and influence in my heart than I realize. I see the darkness in my heart and it depresses me. I see the wicked intentions of my thoughts as they continue to assault me. I envision the assault of my enemy as the waves of the ocean against the beach. A continual steady unending powerful relentless beating. Day after day. Night after night. Sin assaults me and wears me down.
But I know that Jesus is more than all this. I know that the one who lives in me is all powerful and sovereign. I am weak and frail, but His strength is displayed through my weakness. It is my humbleness before him that brings victory. Obedience is possible. Obedience and faithfulness are possible. I will continue to stumble, but there can be continued growth and movement toward Christ. I can see sin decrease as my love for Jesus increases. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Hold fast to Jesus and his promises. His grace and mercy is more and more and more.