Unleash Your Inner Warrior
"The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us."
“The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self--all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call "ourselves," to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be "good.”
My dear warrior,
As C.S. Lewis and A.W. Tozer both so eloquently stated, the almost impossible thing is to come to the end of ourselves. We struggle and wrangle to kill the flesh; we fight against temptation; we want to live our lives as ‘good people’; and yet, we fight to maintain control. We want to be in charge. We have to have the last word. If that sounds familiar because you are in the middle of that selfsame struggle, if you recognize yourself in this, let this be a letter for you.
Perhaps you have verbally stated that you submit your life to God; perhaps you have all the rhetoric and religion to make you sound holy—at least to yourself; perhaps you have told God “my life is yours, do with it what you will”—and yet you've noticed the posture of your heart has not changed; or maybe only temporarily. Though you want to make the change, though in your heart you earnestly desire for God to be in charge, you find it tremendously difficult to actually trust Him with so great a task. And besides, your soul says, who knows you better than you?
The thought of giving up your (sinful or selfish) desires, of giving up (the illusion of) control, and the desire to be in charge just seems like too much to ask. You can’t quite get past the idea that you might have to sacrifice things in your life that you currently cling to. And yet, it is so much more difficult to continue on in sinfulness, in petty pleasures, in your dull desires and in having your own way when God is chasing relentlessly after your heart. The more He calls your name, the more He courts you, the more He goes after you, the more difficult it becomes to ignore Him. It almost seems impossible to continue living on in lies and in vanity when Truth Himself is calling your name!
Your fear of the unknown holds you back. A million ‘what ifs’ cloud your mind. You feel like you’ve stepped onto a minefield and are afraid to make a wrong move. It feels safer to simply stay where you are—though ‘where you are’ is no longer comfortable. Your options are to go through the minefield of lies, or to face the Lover of your soul who has been chasing after your heart for a lifetime. It can’t possibly be so easy, can it?
The moment you allow God to simply take charge, the moment you allow Him to make His desires your desires, to make His thoughts your thoughts, and His will your will, you will wonder what ever held you back from the most brilliant thing you’ve ever known in your life. To live in continual conversation with the God who knows all is beyond bliss! What is it you are clinging to right now? What is it about those desires that you wanted in the first place? They’ve always been empty and have never satisfied. All the things you thought you wanted never turned out to be all you had hoped for, and you were left disappointed and unhappy. Those things always left you feeling sure that was more to be had. Why? Because there is. God is all you need and provides more than you could want—or even imagine. The things He gives satisfy our hearts because He knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. He is, afterall, the one who created us. We could never truly, fully know what we want or need—but the God who created us and gave us the desires of our hearts to begin with, He knows what we truly need. He gives us far beyond what we could ask or imagine.
So why can’t you trust Him? What is it that is stopping you from truly coming to the end of yourself?
I was speaking with some friends this week when I was struck by the realization that their daddy issues had tainted and clouded their perception as God the Father. This affects nearly everyone. Our daddy issues—the way we see our fathers—affect the way we see God the Father, and determines whether or not we see Him as trustworthy. If you have a father who is a drunk/ alcoholic, or is emasculated or resigned, embittered, violent, resentful, or absent, those very issues color the way you then see God. Your human understanding of what a father is like is then how you (from your earthly lens) understand God as a father.
If you have a dirty lens through which you perceive God, then you cannot and will not submit to Him. If, because of the way you see your earthly father, you do not think God is trustworthy, you do not trust Him to be in charge, to be strong for you, to be your advocate; if you doubt His majesty, sovereignty and goodness, then you will never come to the end of your self. Why? Because you feel you must rely on yourself; you feel that if your earthly father fell short in that way, that God as a father will fall short of your hopes or expectations, too.
So many people make the mistake of seeing God the Father through an earthly lens, forgetting that God is not human, earthly, fallible or fallen. They make the mistake of thinking that because their earthly father failed them, that He might fail them, too. They miss His glory. He is perfect father who will never fail you; He will never leave you nor forsake you; He is a good father who only gives good gifts to His children; He never changes His mind; He is trustworthy; He is Love; He is holy; He is sovereign; all that He is, is beyond human comprehension! It doesn’t matter if you feel your earthly father cannot be trusted, or if he is not a strong leader, or cannot take charge—that is not a right lens through which to see the Creator of the universe. He is worthy!
Beloved, do not miss the majesty, sovereignty and absolute goodness of our Lord. Everything we understand about Him on this earth from our small, frail, human perspective is simply a shadow of His glory. His goodness as a Father is utterly beyond our limited human understanding—and yet, it is worth knowing. It is worth exchanging our dirty, scratched up, wrong lens of what we understand a ‘father’ to be for His right lens of who God is as a Father.
“I am convinced that in order to practice his presence correctly the heart must be emptied of all other things. The reason is that God will possess the heart alone and as he cannot possess it alone, without first emptying it of all other issues of the heart. Neither can he act in the heart and do in it what he pleases, unless it be left vacant to him.”
—Brother Lawrence, fifth letter of The Practice of the Presence of God
Back to ridding you of yourself. If you recognize that there are lingering thoughts and attitudes about your earthly father that color your perception of God as a good Father, it’s time to get rid of those things. Ask God for a complete lens change. Ask Him to show you how He sees Himself. Empty yourself of those wrong perceptions of God that taint your relationship with Him. (And, in the process, if you have unforgiveness towards your father, forgive! Forgive your earthly father, confess that unforgiveness as sin, and be set free from the bondage in which your unforgiveness has held you captive).
Then, when you have begun to find yourself emptied of those things, try again. Come before Him again, but this time, truly knowing and understanding that He is trustworthy and trusting that you can truly give your life to Him and trust Him to be in charge. Know that your confidence in Him is not misplaced.
“Let us return with a full assurance to that Father of mercies, who is always ready to receive us affectionately. Let us renounce, let us generously renounce, for the love of Him, all that is not Himself; He deserves infinitely more. Let us think of Him at all times. Let us put all our trust in Him: I am certain that we shall soon find the effects of it, in receiving the abundance of His grace, in which we can do all things, and without which we can do nothing but sin.”
—Brother Lawrence, Ninth Letter of The Practice of the Presence of God
My dear warrior, do not delay in putting off the old nature, in coming to the end of yourself. Become introspective together with Him (but do not get lost in your own head) to discover what it is that keeps you holding on to the self when God is so tirelessly, determinedly, relentlessly chasing after your heart. If it is a daddy (or mommy or anyone else) issue or anything else that is keeping you from a right view of Him, make haste in laying that down at the foot of the cross and taking up a right lens by which to see Him. Yes, ask Him for a lens change! You will be fairly useless on the battlefield if you do not know and love the One you serve.
Keep digging deeper, my dear warrior!
©Michèle Aimée, 2015
About the Author
Michèle is a warrior with a passion for God, a deep love of writing, and a fire for combat training. As a warrior, she understands that when she is given orders, she must follow through.