The book of Genesis records the beginnings of mankind. As he began to multiply and spread across the earth, great immorality followed, eventually leading God to destroy the earth through the flood. In Genesis 6 it is written, “And the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be 120.’” (Genesis 6:3, NKJ)
The word in this translated as “to strive” literally means “to contend with.” It is used most often in scripture to describe the function of a lawyer who pleads a case. The text is basically saying that God will not plead His case forever. There is a time when God will put down the role of advocate and take on the role of judge. Once He does, then judgement is passed, and the contention is over.
God, in His love and mercy fights with man. But it is not to destroy him. It is to save him. A lifeguard will jump in the water to save a drowning man. He may even resort to some rather strong tactics. He does so in order to bring the victim to safety. In the same way God’s Spirit has jumped into the ocean of humanity and is fighting to bring souls to the saving knowledge of Christ. But the struggle doesn’t stop there.
The Spirit of God is continually fighting with us to win over our will, so that our life will be completely His. God has a sovereign plan for the earth and all it’s inhabitants. Life, for you and I, will never be fulfilling until our will is completely surrendered to Him. Then, and only then, will we really know the joys and pleasures stored up in heaven.
The truly repentant heart understands that there is nothing that obliges God to forgive us. He is utterly free to receive us or reject us. He can lavish us with mercy and compassion or He can withdraw his divine favor. No one can force Him to forgive a rebel child, or welcome back a prodigal son. And at the same time the heart finds hope in the knowledge that God’s love for us is eternal. His desire to forgive is far greater and persevering than our desire to seek it.
And so the heart is humbled, broken, and contrite. We know His mercy is everlasting. And so we cry out to God, Lord do not stop striving with me. God, take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Do not divorce me from Your holy presence.
This is not a time to lose hope, nor lower your hands. God is with you to bring you through to the end. He is not tired of fighting with you as long as you are pressing into Him and willing to pick yourself up after falling and go at it again. Press on, dear friend. God, your Heavenly Father, is fighting on your behalf.