The Struggle Is Real
Every morning I journal my thoughts about the scriptures I’m reading and the lessons I’m learning from the guests I interview on God’s Men of Influence. As I journaled one particular morning recently I was focused on the hardship of a family’s story that moved me to the point of tears. Why does it sometimes feel like those who want to be closest to God are under attack? I was filled with both empathy and the sense that I was not alone in my thoughts. I started to realize that the Holy Spirit was trying to guide me to a new truth. The struggle is real. As people of God, we are under attack by a very real evil. This understanding was exhilarating, but also a little frightening. Fortunately, while among our community of Christian men, we are not alone in the struggle. I decided to reach out to my community and invite them to join me in the struggle.
I want to thank our special bloggers today. Our first contributor is Beau Dobbs and the second is Joey Hicks. I encourage all of you to comment and let us know what you think. Do you believe as we do that The Struggle Is Real?
Written by Beau Dobbs:
Welcome to God’s Men of Influence, where we learn to be real Men. In the podcast on August 9, 2015, Mark Howerton discussed a very difficult topic on discovering intimacy.
Before I get started into this topic, and being my first post on God’s Men of Influence, I want to define a couple terms, to allow you all to understand what I mean when I use the terms.
A GUY is just a male in society. He hasn’t matured and figured out what manhood is about.
A MAN is someone who understands that there are certain tenants to manhood, and have taken that challenge to be one. There isn’t a rite of passage, or a certain age where a guy/boy becomes a man. It is behavior based.
As a Man in today’s society, we are pulled in a lot of different directions by the media. If we are to build strong relationships with our significant others, we need to be comfortable with intimacy. Men, this is where you differ from guys. Guys see intimacy as sex. Intimacy is so much more. When a woman asks for intimacy, the last thing she is asking for is sex. She wants connections. As a man, this means you must be ready to step forward when you want to step back. Men are able to communicate and listen in a non-threatening, non-problem solving manner. I know it is normal for a male to want to solve her problems, but that’s not what she wants. She wants to you to hear her talk. By listening first, and speaking second, you draw closer to her. Remember, in James 1:19, we are called to: “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” By taking the time to listen first, we build the intimacy she so desires.
I know it’s difficult for us to want to show emotions or intimacy. Society has demonized that, creating an aura of weakness, and being effeminate. If our buddies see us showing our emotions or intimacy towards our significant other, we often end up being ridiculed. Perhaps, those buddies aren’t in touch with what it means to be a real, Godly Man. But you must stand your ground and provide for your significant other.
What is intimacy? Christ asks for us to create an intimate relationship with him. The bible charges us to not withhold intimacy in our marriages. I hope you see that those are different meanings. Yes, intimacy does refer to sex and sexual acts. But what we often miss is the greater definition. Intimacy refers to closeness, acts of serving, expressing detailed knowledge, and, most importantly, created through face to face interaction. In the context of our religion and spirituality, it means to pray, and spend time studying His word. That is how you get to know Christ.
In a relationship, intimacy is built by spending time building closeness. The most direct way to do that is through communication. Men, I’m not referring to talking about superficial things like her favorite color or food. It’s deeper. Communication about your inner most fears and desires builds intimacy. She needs to be able to trust you with her fears, anxieties, and insecurities. She’s not just going to verbally dump all that on you the first date. It may take years to build true intimacy with a woman. But, trust me, it’s worth it. The consequences of not investing time to build intimacy will lead to the ultimate failure of the relationship. If you want to succeed in the relationship, and as a man, you must invest this time.
It isn’t easy communicating on her level, let alone on yours. It isn’t easy being in a relationship. It isn’t easy being married. It isn’t easy being a Man in today’s society. But that’s where change happens; outside your comfort zone. So take the first step to being a man by stepping out of your comfort zone. It will be a struggle by the payoff is well worth it.
Written by Joey Hicks:
We have all heard it said; ” The struggle is real ” and indeed it is. The struggle between good and evil, the struggle between right and wrong, the struggle between Spirit and flesh, The struggle between my way and God’s way….
These are all one and the same. But what is the struggle for? The struggle for our allegiance and ultimately it is a struggle for our soul. Ephesians 6:12 says ” Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms ” . What this verse tells me is that I better not enter into this struggle alone. If i can not even conquer my own flesh outside the grace of God how in the world can I stand against the Spiritual forces of evil?
John 4: 24 says ” God is Spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. So what John is saying is that we have the ability to approach God in the spiritual realm if our spirit is in harmony with His Spirit. This is very good news because though I can not stand alone against the spiritual forces of evil God can. In 2 Corinthians Paul speaks of a thorn in his flesh and how he had asked God to remove it but God’s answer to him was; ” My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in your weakness “.
What did God say?? ” MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN YOUR WEAKNESS ” .
Wow! So, the struggle is real for sure. and we are too WEAK to defeat the spiritual forces of evil. But that’s okay because it is not our struggle but God’s struggle and his power is made perfect in our weakness. therefore, If our spirit is in Harmony with God’s spirit the same power that rose Jesus from the grave is fighting that battle for us and we are guaranteed victory because that battle was won long ago at a place called Golgotha.
I say all of that to say this… The struggle is real and it is a daily battle. Some days we are going to feel victorious and some days we are going to feel defeated. We are not always going to make the right decision. that is a given. We will miss opportunities to do good and later feel regret. There will be times in the heat of the moment that we will cave in to temptation and feel shame. On the other hand, we are going to have days where we feel like a champion for God. This is the beauty of grace. Though it is not a license to live a life of sin it is always there when we need it.
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