Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Calculated Attack--But Destined to Fail

Funny how immediately after you learn something, you see just how much you haven't learned it at all.

Shortly after my little revelation about Philippians 4 and my struggle to see evidences of grace, Steve had to call me out on "being negative." I knew I was feeling irritable, but I hadn't realized just how negative I'd been: In the space of an hour or so, I'd lamented that my haircut was uneven, rejected his suggestion of a vegetable for dinner, complained that the baked pineapple I'd made was overdone, and declared my chocolate chip cookies "lousy," among other things.

Nice. Real fun to be around. Real grace-filled, Ame.

Later I was pondering a quote I posted earlier this week:
"I am learning that people need ten words of encouragement for every word of admonition. God's people lose heart more quickly than they lose their map."
(Mark Lauterbach, GospelDrivenLife)

I realized a strange irony: God has graciously given me the spiritual gift of exhortation--as affirmed by tests, experience, and other Christians. Yet one of my besetting sins seems to be a prideful, critical spirit. In one sense this seems totally incongruent, even impossible. On the other hand it makes perfect sense.

Of course Satan would attack in a way designed specifically to counteract a primary way God has designed for the Spirit to work through me. He is a JERK!! But: He who is IN me is far GREATER than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Satan has already been defeated--he is on a leash--and one day he will forever be destroyed! "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20) !

The growth is slow going, and I often feel frustrated at my lack of progress. But I know I've come a long way in the last nine years. And it gives me so much hope and excitement to know that though I struggle, Satan cannot prevail against me. God has promised to bring to completion the good work He began in me!

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