What Do We Struggle with the Most?

May 20, 2019
Maturity, Overcoming

There are times when life can be a real struggle, even for believers that seek God’s will and ways. This natural realm with all its variables, continually presents problems and complications that we must cope with and try to resolve.

So why do we struggle so much? More often than not, it’s because we believe we are victims of contrary spiritual forces and think, the devil is at it again. One Scripture is often used to support this perspective.

“…For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers…against spiritual wickedness in high places…” (Ephesians 6:10-12 KJV).

You may be surprised, as I was, to learn our translations mask the real message in this verse. It actually says our struggle is with the ruling power of ‘beginnings,’ not with principalities. Let’s look closer.

Our Beginnings

The Greek word translated ‘principalities’ (arche´) really means: a beginning, a cause. Arche´ is found in the New Testament 56 times. The KJV translates it as ‘beginning’ 40 times and the NASB does so 37 times. The original Greek does not speak of spiritual forces but of beginnings.

Since this insight is not generally known, a few examples of the Greek usage can be helpful: From the beginning (arche´)…God made them male and female (a). In the beginning (arche´) was the Word…the beginning (arche´) with God (b). “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning (arche´) and the end” (c).

Thus, the Scriptural passage we are examining wants us to understand our real struggle is with beginnings. Our personal beginnings are the early perceptions we accept, which become as authorities in our lives. These beginnings exercise swaying power and compared to God’s leading, they are as worldly influences and wickedness in high places.

Our real struggle is with the ruling power of ‘beginnings.’

Limiting Belief Systems

The early concepts we accept and believe become ‘high places’ that exercise a great influence over our actions and reactions. My intention is not to dispel the reality of spirits and angels or their good and bad activity; we just want to realize our struggles are mostly with what we maintain as beliefs.

The Disciples of Jesus struggled with their beginnings. Before Jesus, they were taught the Messiah would come and deliver them from their natural enemies. Jesus had clearly said, “The kingdom reign of God comes within” (d), to change the way we think and act. Ancient Israel’s struggle with their beginnings in Egypt caused their short journey into the promises to last forty years, a lifetime (e).

Today, we still struggle with the same limiting perceptions of ancient Israel (we don’t or won’t hear) and the Disciples (the kingdom comes ‘upon’ rather than ‘in midst’). Jesus said and Paul confirmed; “God has more to say, but you are not able to hear” (f).

We struggle with the same limiting perceptions of the ancient Israelites and the Disciples.

Foundational Cause of Struggles

While many of the first principles we learn can be good and appropriate for the time, some can play a big role in keeping us from hearing and responding to God’s leading. Paul instructs us to ‘put away’ our childish beginnings (g). Our beginnings can come from four sources.

  • The perceptions received in the Garden, as Adam and Eve ignored God’s guidance.
  • Perceptions we are taught by our parents.
  • The perceptions we develop as reactions to childhood experiences.
  • The perceptions and concepts we receive from our teachers and educators.

Adam and Eve illustrate a specific example of an erroneous ‘first cause’ and the results. After ignoring God’s guidance, a dreadful fear formed (h). Then, as God came to interact, they hid, covered-up, and made excuses rather than repent and restore their fellowship with God.

When God spoke to Israel at Mount Sinai, they all heard His words (i). Since they did not believe it was normal, they refused to continue the experience (j). Throughout history, people have struggled over hearing God for themselves.

Throughout history, people have struggled over hearing God for themselves.

A New Day Solution

Jesus came to clarify the issue. God is always speaking and offering personal guidance, we just need to be open to hear (k). Everyone can hear our heavenly Father speak (l). Believing written Scripture is not as powerful as hearing God’s voice. (See blog: “Why is God’s spoken Word So Important?”)

We are not victims of contrary spiritual forces! Rather, we just struggle with many of our current beliefs and even argue over them. God wants us to hear Him for ourselves and believe He can say something different to others for their situations. He is not a God of confusion, He sees the bigger picture! We are the confused ones, thinking “I know better.”

Our answer is found in our openness to hear God speak concerning our day and our particular situation. Today is not like yesterday and our problems are not exactly like another’s. Can we be flexible enough to believe what God speaks to us today, even if it disagrees with what we were taught or our past experience?

The answer to our struggle is found in our openness to hear God speak concerning our day and our particular situation.

a) Mark 10:6; b) John 1:1-2; c) Revelation 22:13; d) Mark 1:15; Matthew 4:17; 10:7; Luke 17:21; e) Exodus 16:3; Numbers 13:3-4; f) John 16:12; 1 Corinthians 3:2; g) 1 Corinthians 13:11; h) Genesis 3:8-10; i) Deuteronomy 5:22-24; j) Exodus 20:19; k) Luke 9:35-36; l) John 10:27-30

Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder
The Fellowship of His Presence author

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