“What if acceptance is the key to ending the struggle?” This phrase resonated loudly on the inside of my thoughts. Then it was followed by this “What if my acceptance of what I can’t earn or what I don’t deserve and what has already been done for me is the answer I have been searching for all along?” Have I been blinded to the fact that any area of struggle I have or might encounter is where I’ve been resisting the provision of God?
I should preface this to say that for most of my life there has been an ongoing struggle with an eating disorder and the ups and downs that go with it. This is an area I have spent a great deal of time filling my heart with God’s truth in order to walk free of it. For the most part I do well, and it doesn’t impact me the way it used to, but there is still a little frustration when my choices don’t always line up with what I know is the right thing to do. When that happens there is some inner condemnation which only makes the situation worse.
I am determined to take God at His word, and you should too in your area of struggle, and walk fully in the freedom that comes through Him. Most people are trying to overcome something in their life. It may not be an eating issue but could be addiction or past trauma or any number of things. The majority of those trying to overcome their situations are stuck in a mindset or way of thinking, that is opposite or not in agreement with God’s word. There have been weeks, months and yes, even years, when I felt as though I would never see that freedom take place. I know it’s coming though, and I can feel it shifting in me, I know it is coming and because of revelation that comes from the Word, it is and will be! I am one thought and action away from walking fully in that freedom.
When I heard that statement “What if acceptance is the key to ending the struggle?” I did what I normally do and look up the words. There are times we can pass over a word and assume we know what it means when we really don’t. This was the case with my understanding of the word acceptance!
I pulled out the tablet and searched for the word acceptance. One definition of the word said: consenting to receive something offered. What? Consenting to receive?
Now the word consenting is intriguing. Its definition was: involves the will or feelings and indicates compliance (yielding, conforming and a synonym is receiving). Now we are getting somewhere!
So our acceptance of what God, through Jesus, has already done for us such as salvation, established righteousness, and the defeat of sin is already done. As long as we try to fight the battle that has already been won, the enemy keeps us right where he wants us which is depending on our own strength and actions to save ourselves, when that was never God’s plan for us. We keep walking tied to the flesh instead of to the Spirit of God.
Let’s look at this process from a different direction. We are in a binding covenant with God (one of the other definitions of acceptance is agreeing, either expressly or by conduct to the act or offer of another so that a contract is concluded, and the parties become legally bound). If I allow it to be, by renewing my mind to His Word, His resources are mine in covenant.
How many times have you or I found ourselves in opposition with God’s word, by our words or actions, when He wants us to speak and act in harmony with His truth, whether it is spoken or written. When we find ourselves on the opposite side of what God says in His word, we are looking through the eyes of circumstances.
So why did I give you those definitions? What’s the bottom line? First, if there is a struggle, there is no agreement. Have you ever seen people playing tug of war? There’s a long rope, wide in circumference, and right in the middle of the rope is a marker of some kind that determines where the middle of the rope is located. The goal of the game is for one group to win by pulling the other people from their position to the other side. They get momentum working on their behalf and they dig themselves in so as not to be moved.
This is what is happening when I struggle to believe that I am free of the eating disorder. I have dug myself a little space and I’m fighting and fighting to hold off taking the actions that would be detrimental to me. Follow this line of thinking with me for just a minute. I begin the day eating like I know is best for me. I may have done the right thing for 1-2 days then bam! All the sudden I have an off day, and nothing seems to be working right. I eat what I know I’m not supposed to eat and start to condemn myself and get frustrated because once again it feels like I’m losing ground in the fight.
Instead of recognizing the off day as just an off day, that old mindset rears up and speaks to us inwardly “this always happens, you haven’t changed.” Or, “Why don’t you get it?” In other words, my worth or my identity is all tied up in my doing everything right. When I make a bad choice, I am bad. When I make a good choice, I’m a work in progress and therefore never enough. The problem is, I still see myself as needing fixed instead of accepting God’s truth and believe that it has and will continue to change those things in me that are in direct opposition of His will. I am acceptable to Him just the way I am.
God’s truth says we are delivered, healed, and we are complete in Him. God’s truth says He is in us and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (or empowers us). This should not be a tug of war. Where the tug of war exists, we have yet to accept the identity of who we are in Him. Where the tug of war exists, there is resistance to the truth and we are fighting off the very freedom we so desire to embrace.
Acceptance is recognizing that if we are struggling to be right, to do right or to be seen right we are putting ourselves, like in the tug of war, at opposite ends of the rope and then wonder why we feel frustrated and angry with the lack of progress. However, as we take all the frustration, the anger, the broken promises to ourselves, and unrealized dreams and surrender them to the Father, and one by one we pick up His Word in exchange for all we laid down to fully align ourselves with Him, that is when the tug of war ceases and rest begins. We acknowledge to Him that we know the struggle is because our minds have not been renewed fully to see that the battle has already been won. If we continue to fight the battle in our own strength instead of resting in His strength and allowing the Word to do the work, we continue to draw from our own limited resources and the tug of war continues.
Do you have something in your life that you have been in the tug of war with and are trying to overcome?
- Take the area of struggle to the Lord in prayer and lay it before Him.
- Accept that for every area of struggle, Jesus is the answer to the battle. His Word provides the ammunition and is the exchange needed to move the battle from our thinking and actions to the Word working and actively working inwardly to change the outside.
- Give Him permission to bring into your life the wisdom and working knowledge of how to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in your transformation.
- In that place of surrender, He will fill your heart with His truth. When it becomes real to you as you meditate on the Words He speaks to your heart, the changes begin to take shape, and are formed inwardly.
- Your outward behavior is changed with ease and now seamlessly operates in your life without fighting the battle every day. The daily battle is a distraction of the enemy to keep you from experiencing God’s freedom. The daily battle keeps you tied to the flesh and not focusing on where true change comes from, the Spirit of God.
- Our acceptance is simply trusting God that His word is true. I am free! I am healed! I am accepted and loved by God! Anything that comes against those is God’s battle. My part is to stay abiding in and meditating on His Word so that my mind can be fully renewed.
A few Sundays ago, Anthony Yadon who is one of our speakers at church said this “It’s not about behavior modification but instead, it is spiritual transformation.”
I’ll leave you with the following:
Psalm 27:14 TPT, here’s what I’ve learned through it all: don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave, be courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you.