tug left right

Just when we think we have found the secret, just when we know what we must do to be good Christians, our world turns upside down. The crazy thing about trying to lead a good Christian life is that just when we think we understand, that is when, more often than not, we find out we really didn’t. The trap is that we start to get a glimmer of what we must do, must be, and because of that glimmer, it is easy to be deceived into thinking that “that” is the Christian life.  “THAT” is just one action, one episode, in a life of many actions.

We know that Christ has forgiven us, our many transgressions. We understand that. What we don’t understand is that those transgressions cover our entire life, from beginning to end. We, however,  can only think of those that we have done in the past, the ones that we have agonized over, the ones we have said, “I am sorry for” many times. The ones in the future? What are you talking about? We are born again! We seem to feel that once we have accepted Jesus, once we feel we know what we must do, then… the battle is over. Knowing and living are two different things. The battle begins every day, every moment of every day. As Ann, a lay Apostle, says in her book The Mist of Mercy, “The Enemy never sleeps”. When we are confused, shaken, and yes, even satisfied, the Enemy lays his traps for us, to ensnare our souls, to cause us to doubt and retreat.

The danger is complacency, the feeling that we have finally arrived and feel good about it. This is an insidious side of pride. We are proud that we are “good”. If we feel confusion and surprise, at the times when our life looks us squarely in the eye and laughs at us, this should lead us to reevaluate where we stand. If we feel surprise and disappointment in ourselves, when we do stumble and fall, then we have not delved deeply enough into what our Christian life means.  The humble person is not surprised by this distress. They have acknowledged to Christ AND to themselves that they are truly weak. And this knowledge leads them to trust more, to cling tighter to Christ.

We are engaged in a tug of war, called Life. What we have read, what we feel in our heart, everything that we believe is pulling us towards unity with God. Christ has provided us the Way, the tools, so to speak, to mend, and strengthen our attitudes, to fix our broken lives, all while clinging to Him and His loving heart.

So who would dare try to prevent us from reaching true happiness? We don’t like to think of his existence, but he surely is there. The Enemy lies in wait, seeking to explore our weaknesses. Do we strive for position, accomplishments, money, pleasures, material goods, friendships? The list is seemingly endless. What is it in our lives that we want, oh so desperately?  We want it so badly, that we can almost taste it? The Enemy will lay it before you. All you have to do…seek it, not God; pay homage to him, not God. The quest for your soul began at your birth, and will continue until your last breath.

So we see the “THAT”, which we spoke of at the beginning, is not one moment in time. It is a continuous struggle for our very soul. We will slip and fall, and try to grasp tighter on the rope, only to slip and fall again. The beauty of Christ is that He is always there, with His hand outstretched to help us up again. Picture yourself as being involved in a tug of war. In front of you, in opposition to you is the Enemy, with all that he has to offer. And, standing behind you is Christ with His hand gently pressing on your shoulder. We must know that without Christ we are weak and no match for the Enemy. But with Christ… as St. Paul says to the Philippians, “There is nothing I cannot do in the One who strengthens me.” 4.13