How to kill a dragon

I guess I've always felt like if I pursue God, if I am a "good Christian," if I try my hardest to be set-apart and poured-out for Christ, I will experience some positive returns in my Christian walk.

Like killing dragons.

I mean, it's only fair, right? If I seek, if I strive, if I push towards a closer relationship with Jesus, I should experience victory over whichever sin I'm particularly annoyed with, or I should have blessings in my life, or I should be seeing my friends come to a saving knowledge of Christ, etc, etc.

But my dragons don't die.

So where does that leave me? What am I left with when - despite my persistent prayer life, despite the time I spend in the Word, despite the hours I spend in worship - my sins and problems don't vanish away?

Sunday at Praxis, I was reminded.

I am left with the cross.

I cannot judge my Savior's love on what He may or may not do in the future. He has already sealed me, shown me the deepest, most beautiful love He possibly could. I am broken inside. I have a very real evil in my heart. And yet, despite my ugliness and my rebellion, Chris has reconciled me with God through His sacrificial blood.

Praise Jesus!

But what about my dragons? Aren't we promised that we will become slayers of dragons?

I think to a certain extent, yes. 1 John talks at length about the fact that if someone "sins" (aka, is living in continual, unrepentant sin), he does not know God. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, His power will immediately start transforming our hearts. As far as dragons go, however, there are two things I've recently found out:

1) The dragon I want to kill right now might not be the dragon God is working on. I struggle with many sins, and while I might be especially ready to get rid of sin A, God's timing might be to work on sin B first. Am I ok with that? I better be.

2) Sometimes dragons are really thorns. My best friend E was telling me that there is a difference between a dragon that needs to be slain, and a thorn that needs to be endured. Paul begged God, much as I have been doing, for relief from a particular suffering. But God chose, in His wisdom and knowledge, to leave that thorn right where it was. And personally, if I didn't have dragons or thorns to remind me how helpless and broken I am, I probably wouldn't come running to the cross looking to Jesus for help and mercy and grace.

As we grow closer to Jesus, we have to remember that God is not a vending machine. If I put in x hours of prayer and Bible study, I do not deserve in any way to get a Victory over Sin soda in return. We have a vibrant, real, and changing relationship with Christ, and the direction it will take is different for each individual Christian. I cannot compare my walk to anyone else's, nor can I demand that God will deliver me in the same way He delivered someone else.

But what can I do?

I can rest in His arms, under the shadow of the cross, knowing that above all else, He loves me.

And that's all I could ever want, anyway.

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