Integrity is important, especially when you are a Christian. It will be hard to talk about Christ, and have people listen to you when they cannot see you living a life that follows Christ. It’s hard to say you’re a Christian when your actions do not reflect who your Father is. I guess I am not alone in this struggle.
Recently, God put me under a test. And I failed. Again. Always.
I’ve been praying to God that He’d change me. That He’d take over my temper, and make it like His. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger. And even if each time I find myself in a tricky situation I remember to pray to Him, the devious side of me still wins. Not because I am stronger than Him, but my refusal to listen to Him gives the devil a foothold on me.
My day was ruined because of that one SMS I received in the morning. I refused to talk to anyone at work. I refused to smile; I was difficult to deal with. I was so furious. I was hurt. And my pain gave me a reason to be mean, to be rude, and to hurt people too.
I could have listened to Him as the words echoed in my head:
“In your anger, do not sin.”
But I didn’t. The rush of emotions, those words I could just easily lash out, those give me satisfaction. I savor the bitter taste in my throat. The face of those people as they tried to be calm so as not to trigger my anger, those were too sweet to see. I let the devil take over me that day. I failed God. How will I call Him my Lord?
The next day, I still have the hangover of my fury. It was hard for me to switch back to my “old” self after what I did the other day. And in the evening, I need to rush from work to catch a meeting with my fellow Christians in our prayer meeting group. And I would admit that I was so embarrassed to even mention to anyone at work why I need to leave early. What would they say about me? That I am a hypocrite? How will I face my fellow Christians when I was so horrible a few hours before seeing them? How could I even call myself a Christian?
That week I need to meet two friends in a separate bible study session. I feel so unworthy to even speak to them and teach them about love, about the fruit of the Spirit. How could I even open my bible after having my lunch when it feels like it will burn in my fingers? It felt so unworthy to call myself a Christian, to even call God as my Father, as my Lord.
I remember when Jesus Christ chose to ignore the people who was about to stone the woman whom they found committing adultery. He chose to bend down and write on the ground with His finger. Amidst the continued questioning of people, after answering them back, he again stooped down and wrote on the ground. He is God, He could have thrown those people away, but He didn’t. He was so slow to anger.
I lost my integrity. I listened to my heart, which was deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). I let my emotions took over my identity in Christ. But no matter how unworthy I feel to be called His Princess, I am not letting the devil win again. I am still my Father’s daughter, a princess of the King of kings.
What was hard for me in fighting in this battle was, the battlefield is within me. The battlefield is right inside my heart, my head, and right inside the comfort of my body, which was born innately a sinner. Someone who spent most of her lifetime finding happiness in getting even with people who hurt her. The battlefield is within me, and how shall I win in this? Who will emerge as the winner?
“Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
How are we to win over the battle within?
My walk as I wait on Him will always include fighting a battle, not just outward, but inward, and I know I must remember to come in full battle gear, always.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when they day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6: 13-17
I need to not let go of my hold on Him. I need to make sure my battle gear is intact, as I extinguish all the flaming arrows of the enemy. The battle is within me, I can always destroy the battlefield.
I know God will let me go through this test again. He’d let me fail again, until I chose to win it over with Him. I am sure to fail until I let God take over my thoughts and emotions. I will go through this again until I learn to give the proper response. Until I choose not to sin anymore. Until I learn to practice humility, share peace, extend love, exercise patience, and stick to the path of Christ.
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Other people’s attitude should not affect me anymore. I am no longer part of this world. Temporal things and situations should not hurt me anymore. What can I expect from the world that belongs to its god?
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
1 John 2:15-17
It will always be hard to fight this battle within, but only God can change me. I know I need to further search within my heart to see where I am failing, to repent on unconfessed sins. To submit myself in full humility to seek His forgiveness and to let Him take control of my life.
He is my Lord, I belong to nobody else but Him.