I Thought I Could Do It Alone

I thought I could do it alone, but I found out I cannot do it at all. Every time I fell I would get up and promise myself it was the last time. I would find the point of weakness, put a fence around it, and promise to stay away, but the fences had holes. A little more will power, a few new strategies, or a new ascetic practice, none of it was of any value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

It was like trying to strangle myself with the power of my own two hands: it couldn’t be done. Either self-preservation would kick in and I would stop, or if I managed to make any progress, as the strength of my flesh would start to die, so would the very strength I needed to finish the job. You cannot subdue the flesh by operating in its power.

Someone else must do it, and there is only one who can transfer us from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of light. He has to be someone who was able to stand against every temptation that came His way. He then, not deserving of any punishment himself, must have been willing to lay His life down to bear our curse, and even that would not be enough. He also needs to be able to take his life up again, for death is the enemy that needs to be overcome, and that same resurrection power is needed to give new life to our spiritually dead hearts.

There is only one who is able to do that, and it is Jesus Christ. For those who have faith in Him, He has made us alive together with Him, having forgiven our trespasses, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities, and put them to open shame by triumphing over them (Col. 2:13:15).

There is only one who has the power to deliver us: to overcome our sinful nature and the wrath it deserves. It is only by Jesus that we can be saved. I will then trust in Him, and the means He has provided for our growth. He has promised to conform me to His image. I cannot do it alone, I cannot do it at all, but with God all things are possible.

D. Eaton

Death: A Gaping Hole in the Old Testament Priesthood

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. – Hebrews 7:23-24

There is a depth to these verses that is often missed. The basic truth is clear, under the old covenant, though there was only one high priest at a time, there had to be many of them because they were prevented from continuing in the office by death, but think about this a little deeper.

The priesthood under the old covenant was a wonderful picture or shadow of the reality that Christ would fulfill. Some people, including the original readers of the book of Hebrews were tempted to go back to the old system for several reasons, but one of the benefits was that it was tangible. You could see the sacrificed animal, you could smell the incense burning, and hear the priest make intercession for you. This was undoubtedly a comfort, but in this picture of our true salvation in Christ there was a gaping hole. The priests kept dying.

The role of the priest was to mediate between God and man, and they would illustrate atonement from sin, but the wages of sin is death and even the priests continued to die. If you are in desperate need of salvation and you understand that death is part of what you need to be saved from, how much hope could you receive from priests who continue to die? You could only gain hope if you understood that it typified something greater that God was going to provide.

Every one of us, unless Christ returns, is going to face death. Some of us may already be feeling its effects. We are unable to do many of the things we used to do, and the older we get the more illness and health issues we have to deal with. When death becomes more of a reality for us, to whom are we going to turn and place our hope? To priests who still die? Your own goodness or heath regimens? Since none of these have defeated the enemy of death, there must be something greater in which we can place our trust.

V. 24 But he [Jesus] holds His priesthood permanently. He will never stop being our high priest because he continues forever. He has defeated death, even after tasting it on our behalf! So when your body starts to break down, when your work hours begin to outlast your physical strength, when you begin to see the doctors more frequently, you will know you have the correct High Priest if he has defeated death and continues forever. No other priest will ever truly be able to mediate between God and man and make atonement for sin and its wages. Never shrink back from Christ, and never lean on any substitute, for Christ and Christ alone is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

For those who have faith, we have peace with God. He bore our wrath and His righteousness is accounted as ours so we can be co-heirs with Him, and since He lives forever, exalted with the Father, His work as our mediator is an ever present reality in the true tabernacle. In Christ, because of His priestly work, all of God’s actions toward you are grace, and none of it wrath. Even His chastening hand is moved by love.

Draw near to Christ today, approach the throne of grace with confidence, and if you are feeling the effects of a body tainted by sin, let it drive you to your Savior’s side, for all those who are in Christ will live with him forever. Though we are sown in weakness we will be raised in power, and though we are sown perishable we will be raise imperishable.

D. Eaton

The Fight of Faith

Fight of Faith Logo

The sky has turned dark.  It has not always been this way, but now it is frightening.  Not long ago it was bright and sunny as was the disposition of my heart, but now the thunder crashes are similar to the war drums of an enemy telling me that I will never survive. When the skies were clear, I always imagined that I had the strength to handle whatever would come my way, but now as I stand here, I realize how weak I am compared to the power of this storm.

Somehow the darkness that has surrounded me has begun to make its way into my soul. The doubts, confusions, and fears continue to whisper to me, and they seem to be penetrating deep into my heart. It even has a way of making the easiest tasks of the day seem burdensome. Deep inside me, it has revealed the truth that I am no match for what I am facing, and to crown its victory, it declares my sinfulness by reminding me of my many failures.

That is not all that is being revealed, something deeper still has begun to stir. Something that is turning my eyes away from the ephemeral and started to focus my attention on what endures. I realize that it was there even before the skies turned, but I am only now beginning to see its power. It has gripped me and will not let go. It is something that was born within by a power not my own, which is what gives it a life of its own. It has been said that those born in this way will overcome the world, and what is this victory that overcomes the world – our faith.

It often takes a storm more powerful than I am before I reach out for the Hand that is more powerful than the storm, and though the tempest remembers my transgressions, the Hands that hold me are scarred from nail piercings that declare my forgiveness.  I still tremble, and sometimes it is difficult to tell whether it is out of fear or out of faith, but what I am beginning to see is that there is something, or should I say, Someone, greater within me than what is in the world.

One day it will all be put right, but the sky is still dark, and the storm is still raging, and when I see the things of this world which my heart still loves slipping from my grasp, the tears still sometimes well up in my eyes. Although, I’ve learned that the One who holds me is also directing the storm, so I have nothing to fear. You may not always see me holding it together, but know this, deep inside there is a battle raging to set me free from the things that still hold me captive. That battle is the fight of faith, and that battle will not be lost.

D. Eaton

The Benefits of Adversity

The Prayer
The daily battles never cease. Adversity is a companion I know too well. My strength is gone, and despair brings me low. I ask again for release from this, for I fear it will be the end of me. The enemy gathers to devour me, and their strength seems overwhelming. Lord, if it be your will, end this suffering.

The Response

Then your word rings clear. “My Grace is sufficient for you”. Three times you’ve cried for relief, because you believe this is holding you back. What you don’t see my child, is that this thorn you so much dread is one of my precious blessings which is not killing or holding you back, but spurring you on and giving you strength.

The death that you feel is the old nature dying, and though you feel held back you’re actually moving more swiftly because your focus is clear and your resolve is set on Me. Without this you would be easily distracted. Without this you would stumble in your own strength, and though Satan thinks he buffets, and your faith is being tested, I am crowning you with perseverance, character and hope.

Humility is another gift that is given though this and the broken and contrite I will never turn away. So walk on and know that I am sovereign, and embrace the benefits of this adversity. For I alone am God, and I know my children well. You will never be tested more than you can handle, and I will bring you home.

My Grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Cor. 12:9

-D. Eaton-

The Pain of Discontentment

We have hearts that long after fulfillment, but far too often we seek that fulfillment in things that fail to deliver. As we long for them we find that our hearts begin to ache. If the desire is strong enough and what we want is out of our reach, it can even lead to depression and anxiety. What is it about desiring things in this way that causes this kind of heartache?

It all seems to stem from the fact that when we want something we cannot have, a gloom begins to cover all the other wonderful blessings the Lord has already given us. As our flesh longs after these things, we hear the sirens singing to us, telling us that we need this in order to be complete.  The problem is, that is not the only song that is sung.  It always travels with another tiding that declares, all these other blessings you already have are not enough; they will always leave you empty.

This is why we can find ourselves surrounded by a multitude of blessings asking, “why am I so miserable?”  If you find yourself in this position, ask yourself what it is that is promising you fulfillment and causing to despise what you already have?  If it is not of God, remember what William Plummer once said, “Are you ambitious for the things of this world? Then you are your own tormentor!”

This leaves us asking how to end this self-torture. Removing desires that war against our soul is no easy task. The only way this can be done is by turning our minds away from the things of the world and setting them on things above where Christ is seated (Col. 3:1).  In other words, we need to set our minds on Christ, the only One who can deliver what He has promised.  This will be a lifelong war and we may lose some battles, but it is one of the primary fronts in the fight of faith.

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. – 1 Timothy 6:6

-D. Eaton