Struggle: a word which exemplifies so much of Christian idiosyncrasy and a fair amount of Christian idiocy. It is a mask for reality, a disguise for the truth. What is this truth?
It’s an ironic rhyme and a telling one.
Snuggle. Rhymes with struggle but is more truthful to our present state. It aptly describes what so many of us do with the sins masked by “struggle”. Reality is that we are often quite cozy with our sins. We are used to them, safe with them, and very, very cozy. There is no struggle.
It’s the code word for so many sins. It gives a hint of humility, a smidgen of shame, and a bit of an admission of guilt. It is understood by fellow “strugglers” to refer to something about which we do not speak openly but we take part in very actively. It strikes that perilous balance between open confession (unsafe! uncomfortable!) and outright denial of sin (“for all have sinned. . .” and so on and so forth). Most importantly it keeps up appearances.
A true struggle is what is described in Romans 7. I don’t do what I should. I want to do what I should, but I do what I shouldn’t. I don’t always want to do what I should, and most of the time I don’t do it. Sometimes I don’t even want to do what I should even though I want to want it. Wretched man that I am, who will save me?
Not much snuggling going on there. No comfy, cozy sinning. No code words and opacity. No striking a balance and keeping his distance from brutal honesty.
In true struggle, honesty is brutal. It’s brutal because it admits to weakness, proneness to badness, active pursuit of that badness. Instead of saying “I struggle with anger” it says “I lose my temper and hurt people with my words.” Instead of saying “I struggle with doing my devotions” it says “I don’t think enough of God’s word to actually read it.” Instead of saying “I struggle with lust” it says “I look at porn.”
We need to take the snuggle out of our struggle and gain a recognition of wretchedness. Only then will we actually put up a real genuine struggle against sin.