Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:11
As I sat in my car reading this verse, my eyes filled with tears. “I don’t understand why I feel this way”, I thought to myself. How is that I can have so much faith in God’s plan for my life and still struggle with a great amount of fear, doubt, and worry? My spirit believes, but I’m fighting off negative thoughts – “this won’t work out”, “It’s not going happen for me”, “It’s my fault”, and “I’m not good enough”.
Have you ever been there? Caught up in a battle with yourself, flesh versus spirit? Paul describes it in Romans:
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. – Romans 7:21-23
Lately, this has been my biggest battle. I know that God is working all things together for my good according to His purpose. I trust His sovereignty and understand that His ways are higher and His timing is perfect. I’ve seen prayers from years ago answered in ways that astonish me and remind me of how faithful He is. Nevertheless, the battle rages on.
Related Article: Feelings vs. Fatht: Fighting a Spiritual Battle
So how does one fight and win?
I remember hearing a sermon that referenced a story in the book of Mark. It was about a father who wanted Jesus to heal his son. As the father was telling Jesus about his son’s condition he concluded with, “But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus replied, “‘If you can?” “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (from Mark 17-24).
I love how the father took Jesus at His word, immediately proclaimed his belief, and then asked for help to overcome his unbelief. It’s so…human.
It’s a beautiful reminder that we don’t sustain our own faith; it is a gift from God. God is the author and perfecter of our faith. We’re not going to overcome our struggles and win spiritual battles by simply coaching ourselves, memorizing more scriptures, or listening to sermons that offer 5 steps to overcoming temptation, fear, doubt, etc…
All of those things are pointless if we rely them instead of on Jesus and the power he equips us with through the Holy Spirit.
The only way to effectively fight the battle is to surrender. We must give our self (heart and mind) to God, profess what we know is true based on His word, then ask Him for help to live it out. He will transform us from the inside out, and equip us to endure and overcome every battle. Only in Christ do we have the victory over our flesh and the struggles.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
So I did just that. As I sat in my car I prayed. I didn’t recite a beautifully constructed prayer filled with memorized scriptures, instead it was simple and raw. I told God how greatly I want to believe the promises He’s given me and how difficult it’s proving to be. Then I asked Him to help me believe.
I don’t know what it is you’re fighting against or fighting for, but I can assure you that the fight is spiritual and requires a spiritual defense and offense – prayer and the Word of God. Regardless how long or trying the fight may be, remember that the war has already been won. God is faithful to help us when we ask with a sincere heart. So be strong, take heart, and keep pressing on.