I had my iPod turned up as I made my way past the houses in the neighborhood where my in-laws live. Houses where on the outside, everything looks nice and neat, but on the inside? It could be a totally different story. Isn't it funny? You could be crumbling like blue cheese (I got that from a sweet woman in my bible study group--isn't that the best saying??) on the inside, but insist that you're fine. You make it so you appear to be fine. When people ask, you say you're fine. You want desperately to be fine. We can only hold up for so long before the pressure starts to wear down that "fine" exterior, and it becomes painfully obvious that we are not fine.
All of the sudden, I became aware of the song I was listening to. It's called Make War by Christian rap artist Tedashii, and when I listened to the lyrics, it was like a light bulb went off above my head (remember the Light. Bulb. from Despicable Me I wrote about yesterday? Same deal). Here I have been complaining about everything that I view as frustrating or unsuitable for me, and I've even prayed about it. Prayers like God, please change me and Lord, I need your help are common for me to pray. I mean, sometimes, in the back of my head, I think God should be kinda proud of me because I am so willing to change, to allow Him to change me. But it struck me today like a lightening bolt: I am very unwilling to move myself. I want to God to come all the way to me, I want Him to change me, but I don't want to have to try to make any improvements myself. I want God to make me fine, but mostly I don't want to have to work at it myself in order to be fine.
In the beginning of the song, the lyrics go like this:
I hear so many Christians,
murmuring about their imperfections,
and their failures,
and their addictions,
and their shortcomings.
And I see so little war!
Murmur, murmur, murmur.
Why am I this way?
It's almost as if I think that if I see no change, then I can place all the blame squarely on God's shoulders, because after all, I asked but He didn't deliver. I don't have have to take any of that responsibility myself?
It's time for me to stop complaining and start making war on the sin that stands ready to suffocate me in it's stranglehold. I have been given everything I need to stand at the ready. Ephesians 6:11-18 describes what we need in order to be ready to make spiritual war: 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
This war isn't against any person, tribe or nation. This war is spiritual, against everything that is designed to bring us down, to make us quit, to make us doubt His existence, to turn against Him.