Tug-of-War

  • June 3, 2011
  • #7590

Joni shares that it is a tug-of-war struggle when it comes to crucifying your fleshly desires and walking in the Spirit.

I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and remember that old game of Tug-of-War? 

Hi there and welcome to this edition of Joni and Friends, and surely you remember playing tug-of-war when you were a kid, right? You line up the strongest guys on your side, wait for the signal, then dig your heels in, strain hard, and pull till it hurts. I remember a time at one of our Family Retreats when I got involved in a tug-of-war in my wheelchair, can you believe it?! I was in my power wheelchair and they tied the rope to the back of my wheelchair and I put it in reverse hard. Did we win? I can’t remember, but I’ve played tug-of-war not only at our Family Retreats, but when I was on my feet back in school, at Young Life camps, at family reunions, and I play it nearly every morning when I get up. And I am not kidding.

I think of Tug-of-War when I think of the way we as Christians live out our days. From the time you get up in the morning, it's like these two forces that wrench you in a fierce contest of push-and-pull... the Holy Spirit pushing you up and the flesh pulling you down. Day after day, its push and pull, a constant struggle to crucify the flesh and walk in the Spirit; to starve the old and feed the new; to reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God.

And who wins? It depends on whose side you choose to be. It is a life-and-death struggle when it comes to crucifying your fleshly desires and walking in the Spirit. It’s daily warfare to reckon yourself dead to sin and alive to God. I know there are times when I wake up in the morning with a sour disposition (whether it was a bad night’s sleep, or yesterday’s leftover pain, I can’t say); all I know is, the day has hardly begun and I'm feeling deflated. Well, friend, that’s the best time to reckon myself dead to that attitude… Lord, I'm not going to be dictated by my feelings today; I'm going to trust you, believe in you, lean on you! I'm going to smile and move forward into this day, believing the best about you and everyone else around me; believing I’ve got a purpose worth living for and a Savior worth following! And you know what, friend? Before I'm out the door in the morning, I’ve chosen sides… the winning side!

Look, when it comes to this spiritual contest every day, you are either on one side or the other – you're never in the middle of a tug-of-war between the spirit and your flesh. Every day you're either following your fallen nature or believing the promises of God. And who prevails depends upon the attitude you adopt toward one side (your flesh) or the other (the Spirit dwelling within you). Because every moment of the day, each decision you make, every choice and decision, every whim and thought is your chance to crucify the old and encourage the new. Remember, you can't be neutral; you can't remain in the middle. You are either walking in the Spirit or you're not.           

So before this day ends, let me jump in on your side of the rope; allow me to lend a hand; let me step in beside you and shoulder some of the load, because we are in this together. So join me today in saying to the Lord, "We want to choose You, Jesus, and Your promises. As each hour, each moment passes help us to keep choosing to walk in Your Spirit and so starve the desires of our sinful nature. And we praise You, Jesus, for the difference You will make in our lives.” Oh, and one last thing: don’t forget to visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org and take a look at our Cause4Life video. Believe me, it’ll inspire you to jump in and lend a hand to someone else in need. People with disabilities are looking for encouragement and you might be just the one who can step in and shoulder some of the load. Again, that’s joniandfriends.org.

© Joni and Friends

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