Thursday, January 13, 2011
In at least four places the New Testament teaches us about the inner struggle between the soul and the sinful flesh. Paul calls it a war in Galatians five. In Romans seven he describes the agony Christians experience when "the good that I will to do I do not do..." Peter warns us of the "fleshly lusts that war against the soul." James also reminds us that "the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously..."
Above all of this there are spiritual attacks that come from outside of us either through evil spirits or through those under the control of those same spirits. It is inevitable that the Christian will suffer spiritual wounds, either self-inflicted or otherwise.
From time to time I feel great spiritual pain over things I have said or haven't said; things I've done or haven't done. The pain just doesn't go away. The word "Satan" means "accuser," and that is exactly what he does. He makes me feel the pain of deep spiritual wounds. Sometimes it seems to me that my soul has been bitten, and there is a venom that lingers on and on. I am just sick, spiritually sick.
God knows this, and in His love He not only explains what is happening, He also heals these wounds to the soul. Isaiah foretold that Jesus would bring healing through "his stripes." Malachi, the last Hebrew prophet, also said of Jesus, "The Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings." Both Jesus and His apostles healed people who were "tormented by unclean spirits."
This is when a Christian begins to understand all those past teachers in the church who kept talking about how sweet the Gospel is. At first we believe it because it is true. But eventually we realize it as we experience the pain of the sinful flesh and of evil spirits. We know how true these words are: "There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul."
So I pray:
Dear God, Holy and Gracious God,
I am so sorry that I acted foolishly. I opened a door and let temptation in. I wasn't paying attention. I drifted into that no-man's-land where nothing good can come. Forgive me for Jesus' sake. Have mercy on me, a sinner.
I know You still love me. I know that You are still patient with me. I know I don't deserve it. I believe that You forgive me. I believe that for Christ's suffering and death You take away my sin. I appreciate that in my baptism, in all the promises of Your word, and in body and blood of Christ... for the forgiveness of sin.
Dear God, for Jesus' sake, please heal me and help me. Help me learn from my mistakes. Help me grow through this adversity. Make me wiser for the future.
In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.