Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Struggle or Surrender?

There is a word in Islam that has become common language to  all of us.  It's the word Jihad.  

In our day we have associated the word with war, terrorism and death, but the basic meaning for Muslims has in it the idea of struggle.

From their writings come these words, *
  • In a religious sense, as described by the Quran and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s), "jihad" has many meanings. It can refer to internal as well as external efforts to be a good Muslims or believer, as well as working to inform people about the faith of Islam.
In many religions the idea of struggle is common.  In the Jewish faith and in Christianity we talk about the struggle against the flesh. All men battle the flesh and the desires that destroy us, but what is the solution, how do we win this internal war?

Paul the apostle was aware of this struggle in his own life (Romans 7) and described the struggle in detail.  His words are probably the most honest words ever written about this war with the flesh.  

At the end of his thoughts he admitted he had to raise the white flag, he gave up, defeated.  His struggle against the flesh was fruitless.  The flesh always wins!  And yet, at the end of chapter 7 in Romans and then the glorious insights of chapter 8 Paul declares that to really win this struggle against the flesh you must not declare Jihad, but surrender!

Raise the white flag, admit defeat, the flesh always wins and surrender to the Spirit of God to do in and through you what you cannot do.  I have to admit that Paul's words in chapter 7 are a great encouragement to me.  Like Paul I realize I cannot beat the flesh.  Its desires are simply too strong!  I need help!

And the help comes as a grand praise from the lips of Paul as he writes, 

What a wretched man I am! 
Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?Thanks be to God, 
who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

What great news!  In every battle with the flesh I've discovered my score card has been flesh- 1,  me- 0.  

But now, in Christ, as I surrender to him, he gives me the strength to win the battles my flesh always lost.

It's not Jihad I need, but surrender....a surrender to the Lord of glory, the only one who can win this battle of sin I fight.

*Jihad: A Misunderstood Concept

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