Are you facing inner conflict right now, with opposing sides vying for power? Are you weary and in need of spiritual balance? Do you feel your life is defined by ‘incongruence’? May you be encouraged by this article written from the perspective of a struggling, but hopeful believer.
Living a life that is out of balance is exhausting and unfruitful. We need a balance of work and play, fasting and feasting. We also need to live within our belief system. It is exhausting when we don’t as this gives rise to all kinds of inner conflict. Are you battling conflicting desires? You are not alone. Many people today are battling to live authentic lives where they can stop trying to cover up or disguise their hypocrisy.
For people who believe in God, and embrace a particular religion, we are constrained to live by the ethics of that faith and expected to live up to its tenets. When one doesn’t we have an inner conflict or a war inside of us where the battle of good over evil rages. The obvious solution for this is to restrain our unhealthy, ungodly desires and live in peace with the expectations and rules of our faith. However, this is easier said than done. As Christians, we all face an ongoing battle being led astray by our ungodly desires and doing our best to overcome unhealthy, addictive practices that can derail our lives.
Unhealthy eating can affect health negatively. For example, obesity has many negative consequences. Abusing alcohol takes one down a path of ultimate destruction as relationships sour, jobs are less secure and life escapes us in a blind fog. We self-medicate in diverse ways to numb the pain and in the process become numb to everything else in our lives too.
In a similar way, sexual addiction is equally destructive. It is certainly disastrous for intimate relationships and there are the added dangers of sexually transmitted diseases that can destroy your life. Thankfully HIV/AIDs is no longer a death sentence but nobody wants to get it.
Christianity certainly offers hope for a different life than one of inner conflict. By following Jesus and embracing God’s Word, we can reach the spiritual balance we need. God promises us a life that is no longer dysfunctional, damaged or incongruent. Jesus offers forgiveness of past sins, hope for freedom for our weaknesses and faith that can be turned into strength.
We are all on a spiritual journey whereby we grow one step at a time and are increasingly able to overcome the things that take us off track. God wants us to be free from all sin and shame. Jesus came to set the captives free. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We are no longer slaves to sin.
Overcome inner conflict with spiritual balance
Christianity offers a journey to wholeness ie the absence of internal conflict. It starts with acknowledging that you have a problem with life-controlling issues or an incongruent lifestyle. This requires seeing the error of your ways. The Bible is the Christian Handbook for life and has clear expectations on all areas of life.
Find the appropriate instructions that directly challenge you. For example, if you have a problem with overeating, see what the Scriptures say about that. Or if you struggle with lust, see what verses apply to restraining your passion.
You may not be sure what your challenges are, only that you have inner conflict. The Good News is that God offers freedom for every form of bondage. He wants us to live authentic lives in balance with true inner peace. His Shalom. This is not just the absence of inner conflict, but the presence of inner joy, assurance that you are going to be okay. That ‘it is well with my soul’ as the famous hymn aptly describes.
Once you realise the deficit in your life, it takes a decision to give your life, problems, and enslavements over to Jesus. It means asking Him to come into your life as your Lord and personal Saviour. And if you have already done that, to return Him to the helm of your life.
This is a life-changing, transforming action. It requires repentance of the things you have done wrong and a willingness to change or at least be open to God changing you. Repentance is key. Forgiveness and reconciliation follow. For most people, this is a 180-degree turnaround from the way you have been doing things in your life.
It is also not a magic solution or sudden fix-all. Walking with Jesus is just that, a walk together, it’s an ongoing journey. On a new road, choosing the narrow path and going from one level of victory to the next. “From glory to glory,” as the Bible says. Until you come to that place of spiritual balance and complete freedom where there is no longer any inner conflict.
It includes a complete renewing of one’s mind allowing your thoughts to be washed by the Word of God. This is not brainwashing in terms of having thinking imposed on you. It is a choice to remove everything that is negative, dysfunctional, or destructive in your life and replace it with thoughts of positivity, functionality, and fruitfulness.
This is a lifetime pursuit. Sometimes you will feel on top of the world. At other times life’s challenges and situations may make you feel at the bottom. It is at these times that the same old weaknesses come to derail you again. The enemy is very sly in creating tailor-made packages to lead you astray and cause a miscarriage or derailment in your life.
It is at these times we may be tempted to return to old ways of self-medication or indulge in past ways of finding false comfort. Eg. Go back to drinking, or seeking an inappropriate encounter. When we feel that inner conflict raises its ugly head again, a helpful exercise can be to make a list of the things that challenge you along with the three questions below.
- What is my issue, really, and where am I now?
- What have I learnt and how does God see my situation?
- What is the way forward and how do I see the future?
This exercise identifies enemy lies and shines God’s truth into the situation. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you to pinpoint where you are and where you need to be. For example, consider someone struggling with same-sex attraction or gender identity issues which can cause much inner turmoil.
|What is my issue really and where am I now?||What have I learnt and how does God see my situation?||What is the way forward and how do I see the future?|
|I am struggling with my sexual orientation. It is causing inner conflict.||God wants me to be at peace with my sexuality.||I want to have a spiritually balanced life where I can be in a committed relationship.|
|I am engaging in unhealthy practices eg pornography.||I need to put out fires rather than add fuel to the fire.||I no longer am addicted, neither do I feel I am being deprived or missing out.|
|My self-control is almost non-existent. I can hardly say no to unhealthy options. There are so many options on the smorgasboard of life.||It is possible to exercise self-control and become stronger every time I say no. I need to be select in what I choose, what I subject my eyes to.||I am contented, satiated, feeling a sense of balance and peace that I haven’t overindulged.|
Whatever you are facing today, know that you do not face the temptations alone. You can also draw on all we have learned on your journey with Jesus. When you slip up, you don’t go back to the beginning. Simply get up again, and start over where you left off. Let go of the inner conflict and embrace spiritual balance.