For 25 years of my Christian faith, I believed the lies that my deceitful flesh told me. I let it lead me to broken relationships and broken lives. It ultimately left me broken.
These lies I believed were slowly leading me to death. I was bombarded with thoughts like:
- Poor me.
- Why me?
- I'm tired.
- I'm worn.
- I shouldn't be treated like this.
- They need to do more.
- I deserve better.
- If only I had a man, money and looks, I would be happy.
All About Me
The lies led me to walk away from relationships and situations that were not making me happy. Instead, in following the lies of my flesh, I sought whatever it took to make me happy. My flesh always pointed everything back to me. It was all about me.
You see, the flesh was very deceptive and had good arguments that led me to believe everything it was telling me. And I never fought back because I did not recognize it for what it was. I wasn't able to experience the power and work of the Spirit of God in my life because I was selfish.
The Turning Point
It was only when, in 2012, Iranian authorities arrested my husband, Pastor Saeed Abedini, and put him in the worst Iranian prisons, where he was tortured for his faith, that I was awakened to the ways of my flesh.
For 25 years, my flesh had been throwing a tantrum cloaked in seasons of deep despair and anxious thoughts that made me always pity myself. It was during the tantrum that my eyes were finally opened to the sin that I lived in every single day of my life. The writings of the apostle Paul revealed the importance of dying to my flesh daily and the ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit within each of us:
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Rom. 7:21–24)
The words of Jesus in Luke 9:23 came to life:
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."
Jesus said that death to self and carrying the cross (a sign of submission) is our calling as Christians. It's the only way to follow Him and be His disciple. How had I missed such a basic and important lesson?
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