Peace Amidst the Struggle (20:5)

Is it possible, however, to accept this truth, and be willing to give up everything to have this peace, and yet still experience un-peaceful struggling within ourselves? This troubles many. It troubled Paul and he confesses that struggle in Romans 7, the whole chapter, but particularly toward the end:

I see a different law at work in my body—a law that fights against the law which my mind approves of . . . it makes me a prisoner. . . . What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me? Romans 7:23-24, GNB.

All of Romans 8, in fact, describes that rescue. The chapter begins by Paul saying that God does not condemn His struggling children (Rom 8:1). He is not only our Father, but our Divine Physician, and He knows that the habits of a lifetime are not cured overnight. And so, as we struggle, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all on our side to help us and to heal us. Notice what Paul says at the end of this chapter:

If God is for us, who can be against us? . . . I am certain that . . . neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers . . . will ever be able to separate us from the love of God. Rom 8:31, 38-39, GNB.

If, in fact, we need discipline to overcome bad habits and learn new ones, God will give it to us. But when the discipline comes, we need to understand that God is not angry with us. He is disciplining us because He loves us. We will not allow the discipline to disturb our peace with God. Hebrews 12:9-11 tells us that God disciplines those He loves like a father disciplines his children. The author goes on to say: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time. . . . Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace. . . .” Heb 12:11, NIV. In fact, if we’ve been set right with God and we’ve been won back to love and trust, God can even turn our trials and troubles to our advantage: “We can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. These very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character.” Rom 5:3-4, Phillips. The passage goes on to say that a mature character produces a hope that will never let us down (Rom 5:4). And that makes for great peace between us and our God.

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