One thing about blogging, is that a traditional blog is about the personal life of the writer. Often times with the audience in mind, there is a lesson for those who read and follow the bloggers writings. However, being a blogger myself and having read and followed other people’s blogs, it is just as much a lesson for ourselves as it is for the reader. Now, if you’ve read my past writings, then you know that I do not tend to follow a traditional blog, nor do I make it obvious on what my struggles are. I like to mingle them into analogies and creative imagery. With that said, I feel it is prudent to express some of my hardships following my typical pattern. It’s how I best express myself, and I feel that writing is fully developed from when it’s straight from the heart. My early writing is from my head, and it’s extremely boring, but educational! Haha
In my life, I have been tempted and tried by tribulation and affliction on many different matters. Deep depression in my life leading up to my salvation was one such trial. My depression lead me down paths that tried to suppress the pain and find a way out of my situation. Most roads I decided to take have since been closed off, however, there is one road that has persistently stuck around in my life. Apostle Paul describes such sins as a thorn in the side. A sin that persist and keeps popping its ugly head up. One of my closest friends describes it as a tar pit. Sticky and hard to escape from, it takes hold of you and you must fight your way out. I like that analogy, I was going to take the chain and steel ball approach. Haha
Sticking with that analogy – sticking 😉 – I hope to encourage those of you that have found themselves in their own tar pit. Take heart! you are not alone in your fight. I have fought long and hard (well, I’ve been fighting hard now, not in the past.) with this sin. Even while being bogged down in the pit, I found myself behaving as a Christian should in most other aspects. Lying has never really been a problem for me, slander and gossip don’t rule my life, I keep a tight leash on my tongue, I do alright. Except for this one persistent sin, I sunk deep into the pit of lust. I used all of the tactics of Satan to make myself feel better about it too. I’m sure this will sound familiar, “Everyone does it, especially us guys.” “I do well everywhere else, I can slip up here.” “Just this once.” Etc. etc. etc.
The thing about lust is this, it alters your outlook on women. (or men for the ladies) Suddenly, the way a women should be viewed with honor and respect is replaced with lustful thought, desires and actions. It morphs God’s design of love and blemishes His design and purpose of sex. God’s designs are perfect and intentional. The longing of another person of the opposite sex is natural and intended to create a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. It is a sad thing when we allow lust to taint this precious gift from God.
Understand this aspect if nothing else, God designed sex, love, our anatomy, the whole nine yards. To have a desire for someone is not the same as lusting after them. God intends for us to have a drive for love, He intends for us to have desire, (including sex) but the way we view His design is what defines right from wrong. We are not unintelligent, we all know what defines lustfulness from intentional love, so I’m not going to spell it out for you.
Returning to the analogy, I stated above that I sunk deep into lust and have been fighting hard to escape. I still find myself struggling from time to time, but something that used to rule my life has been reduced to a uncommon faltering. I stumble and fall as we all do, but not near as much as I once did. I am still healing from my short comings, I think that is one reason I write about love so much in my other post. I have to remind myself of what true love looks like, untint my mind, and view love and sex from God’s eyes and not from this corrupt worldview. I have to fight all the way through and finish the struggle by getting my feet out of the tar and into God’s Grace.
I had completed this post with a different thought process in the past, so this is a revamping of the old post. From here on it’s me describing life winning major battles against my tar pit. I was using a storm as my original analogy though, it still applies. Entering ninth grade I joined Cross-Country and my life changed for the better. Then in tenth grade I became convinced it was time to start dating, which made me act like a moron around the ladies.
Silly ol’ Travis, women are for men!
I’m a man now! my convictions then may be more accurate now. HAHA
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-3
Take heart, no sin will ever be capable of separating you from the love of the Father! No matter how stuck you may be, God is merciful and He shall never abandon you!
Trouble and anguish have come upon me,
Yet Your commandments are my delight. – Psalm 119:143
Delight in the LORD, He is a unmovable rock that does not shift like the shadows. He is forever good, forever pure and forever Holy. Rest in His embrace.
With my Cross-Country family at school I had a new-found happiness! I no longer relied on my sins to falsely supply my needs. I still remember one of my friends on the team asking “Travis, why do you ALWAYS smile? Even in the hallway you grin and there is no reason to.” It’s true, I would walk the halls with a smile plastered to my face. Even when I wasn’t talking or walking with anyone. They couldn’t find a reason for my smile, but I had every reason to be immersed with happiness! It was the first time in a very long time that I felt going a day without sin was possible. My mind and body were healing after a long fought war, a war I realized wasn’t quite over yet. Everyday after school and before practice I stayed in the library and read my Bible. This Bible I later donated to the school and it’s still there. I’m the only one who has checked it out and it is worn out! Not with ill-treatment, but with so much usage! I completed the entire new testament before the season’s end and knocked out a good chunk of the Old. If I had to choose a time that I was the most godly in my life, it would be that year, my freshman year. That year, I was so highly immersed in the Word that God was at the forefront of my mind almost constantly. In the mornings I prayed, the afternoons I read, the evenings I reflected. Growing and learning I finally understood what the armor of God was and I now had a firm grasp of the Sword of the Spirit! It still shocks me when I read my yearbook and have multiple people say that my faith inspires them. I guess it surprises me because I know my struggles, I know what my storm is and what lies ahead. It is always encouraging to me to hear such things. It lets me know I’m doing something right.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:10-17
Although this storm is not as large of a threat as it once was, I must remain vigilant and never cease my growth in Christ. To sheath my sword would mean defeat in the face of the storm. I still linger in the eye, the storm remains and the torments come. This is, as Paul describes it, my thorn in my side. I know that someday I will face this storm again, and when this day comes I have no intentions of losing. I will break through this wall once more, but this time I will not be trapped within the eye. I will emerge on the other end having conquered the tormenting storm that controls the lives of millions. I have discovered, the only way to overcome a storm such as this, one that controls thoughts and dictates actions, is to be immersed in Heavenly thought. Recall the hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” place a special focus on this stanza.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
How true this is! The world around you fades with its temptations and taunts when your mind is focused squarely on Christ thy Rock! My foundation, my fortress be! Heavenly thought leads to Heavenly action. A Christ centered mind leads to a Christ centered life! A much more happy and pleasant life to be sure! Oh how I love Him! The savior of my life and soul! Always remember, that with Christ, all things are possible. With the Holy Spirit dwelling within, any storm, no matter how powerful, can and will be defeated.
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13
I never quite know how my blogs will turn out. I tried making this one a bit more personable. The ones where I am tormented in Spirit tend to be filled with raw emotion and heartache. As I write this however, I feel encouraged, renewed even. Remembering that I have stood firm against this storm many times before, I am confident that with some help, I can rid myself of this storm. May the Spirit lead and guide me and all of those who fight the good fight. God bless you my friends, I appreciate all of you who pour into my life more than you may realize.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:12-18