Why We Struggle


Photo Credit: byronhoh via Compfight cc

There is a good many of us who find living under the government of the Holy Spirit to be a struggle.  We are a lot like the gentleman in the picture above.  Every day is a struggle to keep our heads above water before we sink down into a life overwhelmed by our flesh.  In this post I would like to discuss a fundamental reason as to why we struggle the way we do.

Failure of Recognition

The struggle to walk by the Spirit, I believe, is often due to the failure to recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  The Scriptures declare that He lives within every follower of the Lord Jesus, yet we seem to have a hard time believing that this is true.  It may be due to the fact that we cannot always sense His presence.  We simply don’t feel spiritual.  We feel just like any other person.  Therefore we struggle to believe the Holy Spirit is present, and that it is really possible to live under His governing guidance.

The Early Disciples

The early disciples didn’t seem to struggle with this as much as we sometimes do.  It seems as though they were quite conscious of the fact that the Holy Spirit invaded their lives the moment they put the faith in Jesus Christ.  Look at the following Scriptures and see what you think.  I will add some comments along the way.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  Romans 8:15 – 16 

It’s obvious that Paul’s readers would have known what he was talking about by the fact that he offers no further explanation.

19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20

Paul would likely have been very concerned if they were not aware that their bodies were now temples of the Holy Spirit.

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.  Galatians 3:2 

The apostle was asking a rhetorical question because his readers were quite aware of having received the Holy Spirit, as well as the context for having received Him.

Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.  1 Thessalonians 4:8

Again, Paul offers his readers no explanation due to their familiarity with what he wrote.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.  2 Timothy 1:14

Paul could only exhort Timothy in this way because he was fully conscious of the Spirit’s presence in his life.

Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us1 John 3:24

And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.  1 John 4:13

In both of the above passages, the apostle John is calling the attention of his readers to something they were well familiar with.

Daily Contact

The evidence is fairly conclusive that the early disciples were familiar with the reality of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their lives.  This was not merely a point of doctrine for them.  It was an experiential reality.  It must be for us as well.  We must make daily contact with this reality if we are to have any hope of consistently walking under the government of the Holy Spirit.

May I encourage you to cultivate the reality of the Spirit’s presence in your life?  In the quiet of your morning, before engaging in whatever you call life, become still and look to the Lord by faith.  He is with you right wherever you are.  Make a living connection with Him.  Then, in the consciousness of that connection, go and engage your world.  Pause throughout your day to refocus on the fact that the Lord is with you and in you.  Doing so will help you enter into a whole new level of living in the Reign.


Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible. New Living Translation, copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc.Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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