So he does, like a rat on a treadmill, feeling a weariness that he mistakes for the cost of discipleship. Let him become honest enough to face the emptiness in his soul that every selfaware pilgrim feels the Bible calls it groaning and, at the same time, keep him believing the lie that serving Jesus is supposed to relieve emptiness, and you have a pastor ripe for an affair, or further burnout or an extra dose of legalism.
Satan has a golden opportunity to bring along just the right woman that can become his soulmate, really his fleshmate , and the appeal will be experienced as irresistible. Or the pastor will become disillusioned and drop out, or he might become more rigid and relationally aloof, and more driven and demanding in his role as spiritual leader. Then keeping your nose clean makes sense as long as the blessings keep coming. Why give up the enjoyment of what you have? Christian living then is pragmatically smart. But mess with the blessings, let just enough go wrong to reduce the pleasure you feel in them to a lesser intensity than the pleasure that comes from bagging Christian standards and doing whatever makes you feel alive, and doing wrong will seem justified, necessary, legitimate, reasonable.
The wrong way will seem right. That scenario has led to countless divorces. The real battle is to continue on in faithfulness even when faithfulness brings no immediate experience of joy, even when it brings no prospect of felt joy until heaven. My friend followed Jesus for several decades. He hoped that he would feel an overwhelming satisfaction that would make resisting sin as easy as passing by dog food for prime rib.
He believed the prevailing heresy of the evangelical church that the experience of satisfaction is for now, that living by faith does not delay satisfaction in hope, but provides satisfaction in experience. For him, the call to obedience meant giving up joy and returning to lifeless Christianity. He was not helped by the erroneous but popular teaching that there is a way to feel so alive in God that sin loses its appeal, and that pursuing the experience of aliveness is the legitimate center of the spiritual adventure.
Knowing God is life. But living to feel alive is not the same as living to know and glorify God. When the bottom line is reached, the issue is not finding an experience of overwhelming joy in knowing Jesus.
Battle Scars and Broken Hearts
That will happen later. It may happen now. If it does, praise God.
When the bottom line is reached, the issue is faith: what do you most deeply believe? How then shall you live? Heaven is coming up. Only that fact makes sense of the choice to persevere when blessings are withheld, when emptiness is seemingly unending, when anguish of soul eclipses even the prospect of joy. Fighting the Battle through Prayer If the real battle is to keep from making an idol of desire, if the real battle is to let our choices be ruled by a desire for God that sometimes leaves us empty and lonely, then, though we can rightly celebrate whatever blessings come our way and enjoy the pleasure they bring, we must never deposit that pleasure in the bank and write checks on that account.
We must rather hope in Christ when life makes no sense, when sin does a better job of relieving emptiness than righteous living. We must write checks on the account of faith. Our hope must be fixed on Jesus, and the hope his presence brings, not on satisfied desire in this life.
Broken Heart Dragon
With that slowly growing understanding of the battle going on in me and in my brother, I must pray. I must engage in battle prayer, the kind that is carried along by the recognition that the spiritual battle is between the demand for felt satisfaction and the life of faith. My version of prayer as battle is to imagine my friend in the presence of the Trinity and to eavesdrop on their conversation. I claim to hear neither audible voices nor inerrant messages. Whatever impressions come to mind, I register, ponder, and try to put into words.
I pray for my friend who is about to throw away a life of faith for the experience of satisfied desire. I do not pray that he feel more joy in following Christ than in sin. I pray that he would get in touch with a longing to know God that is stronger than his desire for a present experience of joy and life. I imagine him in the presence of the Trinity. I sense their pain as their child values the experience coming from a woman who is not his wife over the hope they have promised, the hope that it cost the death of Jesus to provide.
I spent an evening telling him what I heard. He called me a day later. Neil Hodge. David Messer. Purchasable with gift card.
Mum-of-four 'died of a broken heart' after losing family court battle
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Getting Over A Broken Heart – 6 Steps To Healing
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