I have a lot of struggles in my Christian life.
I know I'm not alone in this. Jonathan Edwards called Christian practice "a costly, laborious thing."
But different people are tempted toward different sin and stumble over different problems. We get stuck in different holes.
The biggest struggle in my Christian life is perhaps not the same as yours. But maybe it is.
This is mine: connecting my head knowledge with my heart belief and physical action.
Since my days in the church nursery, I've been surrounded by theological training. Family devotions are as much attached to my childhood memories as family vacations. I've been reading through the Bible once a year since I was twelve. I've memorized three books of the Bible. I've heard countless sermons and Sunday School lessons, read hundreds of books, written hundreds of articles — all centered around various aspects of theology.
But sometimes all the stuff that I know gets smothered by what I feel.
I listen to a sermon about contentment on Sunday but I complain on Monday. It's because I have not connected the head knowledge (what I know I should do) with the heart belief (what I know I need to do) and the physical action (what I will do).
I feel like complaining and despite what I know, I give into my feelings.
As C.S. Lewis tersely reminds me, "Feelings, feelings, feelings. Let me try thinking instead."
That's the problem — I don't try thinking. I try feeling. And even though all this good, biblical theology sits on the bookshelves of my brain, the greatest obstacle to my sanctification is that I struggle to live it out.
So what do I do?
There's no quick-fix solution, but there is a lifetime commitment: I keep thinking. Because the fact that my head knowledge doesn't transmit to my heart belief means that I have not fully comprehended the head knowledge.
If I really understood the weight of the sin of discontentment, for example, I would not complain. I would not give into fleeting feelings.
So I will keep preaching the gospel to myself. I will keep reading and writing and listening and learning and growing, because the more I comprehend the head knowledge, the more I will live it out.
We all struggle in our Christian lives. But if we don't know how to combat our sin, if we don't have a plan of attack against the sin that wars with us, we're destined to be defeated.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can mortify our sin. And we can rejoice in the fact that one day, we will be free from sin forever.
We can celebrate that, one day, our Christian lives will no longer contain struggles but only joys forever.