"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood. . . "
I wonder if, often, when we're struggling and wrestling with an issue, we have the wrong "enemy" in mind. This helpful post from Rebekah Merkle below, (an author I highly recommend) helps us think about the trials and temptations in our lives.
See, we often mistake a common "trial" as the enemy we need to fight. The Bible, on the contrary, promises us that we will face trials consistently, but we can be content, joyful, and hopeful (depending on the passage of scripture) within the trial. Much more difficult, are the temptations that trials bring out. These core issues are the root of why we're frustrated, or struggling. However, if we can't see what we're really facing isn't of flesh and blood (a trial) but is a spiritual battle (a temptation) we won't be able to see clearly what we need to repent of and get to work on. God has promised us help and victory over our temptations. . . . .He has not always promised us a change in circumstances to "fix" our trials. This is so important for all of us to realize as we navigate our lives. Here's a taste of the article (emphases mine): I hope you'll read the whole thing here.
"So let’s say that there’s something truly difficult – let’s say that your house is genuinely too small and everything is very cramped and very hard to keep organized and clean. And you’re tempted to feel really sorry for yourself, to dwell on how difficult your life is, to compare your lot to that of your sister who has much more money than you. That’s just plain old, garden variety discontent. But when we’re caught up in the grip of it, that’s not what it feels like. It feels like the house is too small. It feels like the Great Foe you have to fight against is the impossible situation that is your house. It’s the house’s fault that you’re unhappy, and there seems to be no way to overcome the problem – especially given the lack of closets. But here’s the thing. The actual enemy is not the house, it’s your attitude – but it’s your attitude wearing a camouflage suit and pretending to be a small, untidy house. There’s no spiritual discipline that will transform an outdated apartment into a spacious and beautiful, Pinterest-worthy home . . . and we all know that. So it all seems hopeless, and we dwindle further into the sadness and the self-pity. But – there is a spiritual discipline that can conquer a bad attitude . . . and it turns out that it’s a very easy one. It requires looking past the trial and looking at the temptation – and this is what the temptation is working very hard to keep you from doing. The whole strength of the temptation lies in its pretending to be a huge, unconquerable giant of a problem. But when you look directly at the temptation itself you discover it to be a small, petty, ugly little thing that is easily swept away by a prayer of repentance."