Okay, I’m finally ready to admit it. As I sit here staring through the watery slits that were once my eyes, breathing through one nostril, savoring the “fruity” taste of a Claritin dissolving on my tongue, all the while wondering how I will manage to make my 2 remaining tissues last all day, there’s no more denying that I have allergies. I’ve probably had them for a couple years now, but refused to believe it. Any time anyone suggested allergies as a possible cause of my miserability (it’s a word for today, ok?), I poo-pooed the very idea. My famous line was, “I’m not claiming that!” Can you imagine, even as my left eye watered incessantly and I struggled to breathe I preferred to stay in state of denial! To be honest, I thought denying it and riding it out made me more “spiritual” or stronger somehow! I KNOW! Ridiculous as it sounds, deep in the recesses of my mind, that’s what I thought. I thought God would see it and give me a few extra brownie points. AS IF!

At times like this I’m reminded how little any of this has to do with me and what I do or don’t do; say or don’t say. Rather it’s all about what God has already done and said on my behalf. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,” (Eph 2:8 NKJV). I know this to be true, yet and still I ‘forget’ from time to time.

God’s grace is one of those concepts that it’s hard to wrap your brain around. The idea of getting something that we don’t deserve in any way for FREE; that messes us up. Our flesh is all about give and take, tit for tat, you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. It’s not hard to see why when the world constantly shows us something different.

God offers His grace and the world tells us there must be a catch.

God offers His free salvation and the world says we must earn it.

God offers His favor and the world convinces us it’s not for us.

God offers His presence and the world wonders why He’d want to hang out with us anyway.

Every day and each moment it’s a battle to hold on to God’s Word when everything around us is telling us the opposite. I know I get frustrated with myself during these momentary lapses, telling myself I should know better by now. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed for my imperfect flesh to just go away and leave me alone, but like Paul when he asked God to remove the thorn in his flesh God’s response was the same, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Cor 12:9 NLT)

Being a pretty independent spirit - my flesh constantly fights against dependence on anyone - unfortunately that sometimes even includes dependence on God. My flesh desires to be strong in every circumstance. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect in everything. It's exhausting and according to the Word - it's not necessary. While I am supposed to live a life that is pleasing to God, it was never meant for me to do it in my own strength - otherwise why would I need Jesus! So I'm working on "staying in my lane," allowing God's perfection to work through my imperfection, and putting my pride to death.

The war between the spirit and the flesh very real but over time I've found that the battles get shorter, the victories more frequent and the recovery time quicker. Whatever it is that you have been struggling with stop beating yourself up about it. Recognize that there is a war going on and let God's power work through you.

Have a great weekend all!