…Commitments are made, habits are formed, and battles are fought against a real enemy…
That quote from J.I. Packer has stuck with me ever since I read it five days ago. He was writing about how prayer and holiness are learned. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we do not automatically know how to pray, and our lives do not immediately appear to be holy. Instead, we must learn holiness and how to pray through experience. It’s difficult to know how to pray for something that you’ve never experienced. If you’ve never personally experienced healing, it can be difficult to pray for healing with the same faith and passion as someone who has experienced it first hand. In the same way, we do not learn how to live our lives differently until we start living our lives differently. Holiness is learned as we experience it.
This commitment I have made to read, journal, and pray every day is a new thing I am learning. It’s difficult. I’ve made the commitment, and habits are beginning to form. I wrote in my journal five days ago that I don’t think I’m ready to battle a tea enemy, but the truth is that I am in the midst of that battle every day. I neglected my commitment three days in a row this week, and I could tell by the way I was acting and feeling, that it made a difference. Here is an unedited excerpt from my journal entry yesterday, showing the third part of learning prayer and holiness.
Like I said 4 days ago, missing a day easily snowballs into missing so much more for me. In the midst of missing my “devotion” time, I’ve found it to be more difficult to resist temptation and fight the lies of Satan with Truth.
Lies that I hear:
- God doesn’t really care about what I do.
- My actions won’t hurt anyone.
- I am only human. Failure is inevitable.
- My responsibilities are not as important as getting some rest.
- It doesn’t matter what I do.
- Nobody cares about me.
Do you see how it’s a real battle? I’m sure many people have heard those same lies. Some of you might even be hearing more difficult lies right now. How are battles like this won? By the power of Christ. That power flows through prayer, but how do we pray? It starts with trusting the promises of God.
Promise-trusting faith is indeed at the center of the Biblical prayer pattern. – J.I. Packer
Since I had finished 1-3 John, it was time to move to another book of the Bible. I was encouraged when I came to a promise to trust in my prayer time.
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:25 (ESV)
I thanked God, The Shepherd and Overseer of my soul, for accepting me with unconditional love. He does care about me. I am redeemed by the blood of The Perfect Lamb of God. He has surrounded me with a family and a community that care about me. He will never leave me, even in the midst of my struggles. The prince of lies has no power over me or my family. At the mention of the name of Jesus Christ, he flees. “Battles are fought against a real enemy,” but my power comes from the One who has already overcome. My victory is in Jesus Christ.