I have been a Christian for a number of years now. I would say even now I am reborn everyday into what that word truly means. When I first became a Christian I was pretty sure that if I stopped all of the “bad” things I was doing, and started doing all of the “right” things, then everything else would line up and life would get significantly better. And it did, for a time. But then I slipped up, and then slipped again, and I found myself in a constant battle with self-condemnation. Holding a grudge against myself and not forgiving myself for my actions. I just did not understand that God was not up there in the sky ready to squash me every time I did something wrong. I was in a constant state of fire-proofing myself, that I failed to see that I was saved by grace, and that there was nothing I could do outwardly that would change that. This has been an inward battle all along.
Fast forward several years to the not so distant past, when I started to understand that this faith walk I am on actually requires some faith. I started questioning myself and my actions and things I had been taught, and I started to seek out the Lord in different ways. I couldn’t really understand how to reconcile the two parts of my life, my spiritual side and the flesh side. That angel and demon syndrome I guess you could call it. I really started to see that my faith journey starts on the inside. I kept trying to change my life from the outside in, and when I didn’t see the progress that I wanted, I let myself slip and fall and lose the ground I had just covered. I didn’t understand that for outside behavior to change, I had to have a heart change. And not a heart change in just one area, but all areas. Daily an area of my heart is being changed, and I am being awakened to things that might be great, but could be grand if I would let Jesus into that area and take over. At first I let this thought overwhelm me, thinking that there was so much of me that needing changing, how was it all going to happen? I was starting to really get a glimpse of what a true relationship with Jesus is like. Little by little, I can look back and say that God is faithful. He will bring us from glory to glory.
And it is this that has led me to where I am now. I have had many very recent battles, excruciating battles. Obviously lying on the bathroom floor is not the most comfortable place for your innermost parts to fall out. But they fall where they want to unfortunately if we are not careful to guard our hearts and walk prepared for what we know is coming. The Bible says that we will have trials in this lifetime. I can honestly say that I was not walking prepared for my battles that I knew I would face. Prayer is the key to communication in the heavenlies and to breakthrough. And I was not doing this. I was in a place emotionally where I was a tad bit mad at God and just exhausted mentally and physically that I did not discipline my faith according to what God has promised in His word. I found myself depressed, cranky, and moody because I was trying in my own power to change my situation, and that just wasn’t working. I would speak out in faith, and then falter the minute that my feelings changed or when I came upon opposition to what I believed for. But God is a faithful God, and He will never leave us nor forsake us. God places people in our lives that will give us the swift kick we need when we need it. I found myself constantly wavering, and the bible speaks against just this very thing. For a person that wavers is a double minded man, unstable in all his ways. I have been a very unstable person, but by God’s grace, He won’t leave us in a place of confusion, because He has given us a sound mind.
And now back to the bathroom floor, where I am crying my heart and soul out, utterly and completely exhausted from my most recent trial. Through my tear stained cheeks, not even able to open my eyes, I tell the Lord what He told me. Very softly and quietly, I began to speak: Lord, I do not want to be angry with You, or ungrateful for all You have done for me. I know what Your word says; it says that I am more than a conqueror. It says that no weapon formed against me shall prosper. It says that You are my rock and my fortress, the lifter up of my head. And as I began to pray, I begin to feel the strength return to my bones. I will not profess that I jumped up from that moment and felt a million times better because I did not, but what I did feel was the push I needed to continue on, to persevere, and to not let up. I dried my eyes and tried my best to look like I had not just cried a river, and returned to my desk. And praise God I had a voicemail waiting with good news. God is a God who will fight our battles if we will only give Him the chance to.
So what is my prayer in the battle? That when I find myself on the bathroom floors of life that I will not forget the promises God has made to me, that He will never leave me nor forsake me. That He has equipped me with everything I need and that in Him I have the victory.
– Jamie Stapleton