Archive for March 24th, 2007

A Life Without Struggle

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 16:16-33 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tom Chittenden):

A life without struggle — is impossible in the natural or supernatural realm? Yes? Maybe? No?

It is a fact that there is a continuing struggle (war) in the physical, mental, moral and spiritual areas of our life.

Health is the balance between the physical parts of my body and the things and forces surrounding me. To maintain good health I must have sufficient internal strength to fight off the things that are external. Everything outside my physical life is designed to cause my death. The very elements that sustain me while I am alive work to decay and disintegrate my body once it is dead. If I have enough inner strength to fight, I help to produce the balance needed for health. The same is true for my mental life. If I want to maintain a strong and active mental life, I have to fight. This struggle produces the mental balance called thought.

Morally it is the same. Anything that does not strengthen me morally is the enemy of virtue within me. Whether I overcome, thereby producing virtue depends on the level of moral excellence in my life. But I must fight (wage war) to be moral. Morality doesn’t just happen by accident; moral virtue is acquired by my conscious thoughts leading to choice.

Spirituality is also the same. Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles….” This is to say that anything which is not spiritual works to cause my downfall. I must learn to fight (struggle) with anything that would come against me, and in doing so produce holiness. Holiness can be considered the balance between my nature and God’s Nature expressed in Jesus.

So is it possible to live life without struggle, without war? I don’t believe so. And just when the one who delights in leading me into temptation causes the thought to form which says, “So what’s the point, I’m not going to be able to make it, it’s just not worth it” — I lift my head and once again remember the words of Jesus, “But take heart (be of good cheer)! I have overcome the world.” And I too choose to overcome that and all limiting thoughts believing “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

Thought for the day: Faith, in and through Jesus Christ, is the victory that overcomes the world! For this I am grateful.

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: Chuck, who just lost his partner of 16 years, Robbie, to a heart attack and stroke. May God be with Chuck and his family in this period of grief.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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