A SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE
“The New Testament says that when we receive the gift of eternal life a new man comes into us, so that we are now two men, and the two are different and contrary—the spirit and the flesh—and there is a struggle and a conflict. Now those who are aware of that, who though they sin and fail are aware of the fact that there are these two men in them, that there is a struggle between the two—these people have given proof positive that they have received the gift of eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).
However, don’t be too fast to assume you have eternal life if you have conflicts within. The natural man has conflicts with himself. These struggles are not “spiritual struggles.”
“There is no spiritual struggle in the life of unbelievers. There may be a moral struggle, there may be a struggle to live up to a certain code that they have set up, they may struggle to do certain things and if they do not achieve them they are ashamed of themselves…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p651).
This caution is particularly applied to us who have grown up in the church. For we see a moral standard in the ones we worship with and can assume it is accomplished by purely human effort. And so with only our natural man we strive to live morally—and struggle within ourselves if we don’t. A “spiritual struggle” is defined in the next paragraph.
“If you feel that you are empty, if you feel you are nothing, if you feel you are poor and wretched and blind, if you hate your inclination to sin and have any suspicion of a feeling of self-loathing and hatred…you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p653).
Let us check our spirits; let us compare a “moral struggle” with a “spiritual struggle” by rereading the above paragraphs. If you feel you are living life in a “moral struggle” then pay close attention to the next paragraph.
“Tell God that you are not certain, that you do not know, and that you desire that knowledge above all else. And ask Him, by His Holy Spirit, to enable you to see your true helplessness, and ask Him to give you the gift. I assure you that if you do, He will not reject you, because He has said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37). If you have not possessed this, ask Him, believing His own promise, and I assure you that He will answer your prayer. He will give you the gift, and you will know you have eternal life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#332, p644).