Ideas / Pursuing Wisdom / Theology / December 2, 2011


Struggle: a word which exemplifies so much of Christian idiosyncrasy and a fair amount of Christian idiocy. It is a mask for reality, a disguise for the truth. What is this truth?

It’s an ironic rhyme and a telling one.

Snuggle. Rhymes with struggle but is more truthful to our present state. It aptly describes what so many of us do with the sins masked by “struggle”. Reality is that we are often quite cozy with our sins. We are used to them, safe with them, and very, very cozy. There is no struggle.

But we must say struggle. 

It’s the code word for so many sins. It gives a hint of humility, a smidgen of shame, and a bit of an admission of guilt. It is understood by fellow “strugglers” to refer to something about which we do not speak openly but we take part in very actively. It strikes that perilous balance between open confession (unsafe! uncomfortable!) and outright denial of sin (“for all have sinned. . .” and so on and so forth). Most importantly it keeps up appearances.

 A true struggle is what is described in Romans 7. I don’t do what I should. I want to do what I should, but I do what I shouldn’t. I don’t always want to do what I should, and most of the time I don’t do it. Sometimes I don’t even want to do what I should even though I want to want it. Wretched man that I am, who will save me?

Not much snuggling going on there. No comfy, cozy sinning. No code words and opacity. No striking a balance and keeping his distance from brutal honesty.

In true struggle, honesty is brutal. It’s brutal because it admits to weakness, proneness to badness, active pursuit of that badness. Instead of saying “I struggle with anger” it says “I lose my temper and hurt people with my words.” Instead of saying “I struggle with doing my devotions” it says “I don’t think enough of God’s word to actually read it.” Instead of saying “I struggle with lust” it says “I look at porn.”

We need to take the snuggle out of our struggle and gain a recognition of wretchedness. Only then will we actually put up a real genuine struggle against sin.    


Dec 02, 2011

Awesome post. I see I need to change some of my vocabulary.

Dec 02, 2011

Thank you for opening our eyes! I’m ready to unwrap the sin from the snuggly blanket. Loved this: “I don’t even want to do what I should even though I want to want it.” Transparency is a much needed trait in the church.

Dec 02, 2011

Wow! What an eye opener. Thank you, for writing this.

Dec 02, 2011

Thanks for posting this. It addresses seemingly small and deadly compromises that I’ve embraced. Great post!

Dec 02, 2011

Great post, brother! Very convicting.

Dec 02, 2011

Thanks for all the encouraging feedback! I’m always thankful to know my posts are beneficial to someone. I wrote this out of a recognition of my own failings in this and spurred on by some strong words from “Tempted and Tried” by Russell Moore. Y’all should read it; it’s fantastic.

Dec 02, 2011

Whoa. I sure needed to hear this. I’ve always said ‘struggle’ and never thought twice of it. Thanks for showing me what I really mean when I say it.

Dec 03, 2011

Well said, brother. I agree there’s not much snuggly about beating one’s old self into submission. Not comfy, but necessary.

Dec 03, 2011

Ouch. I’m suddenly feeling very uncomfortable. Which is what I should be feeling.

Dec 03, 2011

I am moved by this. Truly, God bless you for this. I think I am going to dive back into Romans 7 and reread…

Dec 04, 2011

“Oh sirs, deal with sin as sin, and speak of heaven and hell as they are, and not as if you were in jest.”-Flavel
Just read that on Twitter and thought it fit. It’s so easy to be vague and elusive.

Dec 05, 2011

Is it just me or is your rss feed not working?

Dec 09, 2011

RSS feed says it’s down

Dec 09, 2011

Feedburner should be fixed. The reason it wasn’t working was because the extension wss BarnabasPiper originally, not Barnabassblog.

I made the change.

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