The Struggle in Three Dimensions

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The struggle is real. No matter how hard we try to avoid it, it is inevitable that we will experience it. In Monday’s LivingItOut, we defined struggle as the tension of wanting what we don’t have or having what we don’t want. We all experience struggle, and chances are this is a truth you know well.

In the message from the weekend service, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder shared three dimensions where we experience this struggle. We struggle physically, mentally, and spiritually. The physical dimension relates to our body, while the mental dimension relates to our thinking and emotions. These first two are easily recognizable. Once identified, we then begin working to correct them, and in doing so, we grow tired, and we may miss the most critical dimension namely the spiritual dimension, which relates to our eternal being. This causes us to lack the spiritual vision it takes to see the next steps we need to take.

Awareness of the spiritual dimension is the first step toward gaining spiritual vision. The story of Nicodemus shows us the need for our spirit to be made alive through God’s spirit. Jesus described this coming to life as being born again.

John 3:5-6
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.

Merely being aware of the spiritual dimension and our need to be born again isn’t enough though. We need to trust God’s spirit and the vision he provides.

Without trust, all that God freely gives us won’t make sense. It will all seem foolish. But when we trust God, we can begin to see things the way God sees them. Our struggles won’t go away, but we will see them differently and recognize the next steps that we need to take.

1 Corinthians 2:10-14
10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

John 3:16
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

In which dimension do you notice yourself struggling: physical, mental, or spiritual? Which is your life lacking, and how is that affecting your spiritual vision?

Next Steps:
Stop fixating on the struggle and start focusing on God. Read the full story of Jesus’s encounter with Nicodemus in John 3: 1-18. If you haven’t taken the step of trusting Jesus, make a decision to follow Jesus today. If you take that step today, let someone know. Tell a friend, tell someone in your Group or at church. Or email us at We would love to hear from you.

21 Days of Prayer:
Day 3 – My heart (Psalm 139:23-24)
Father God, I ask you to search my heart. If you find anything in me that is offensive, please show me and help me remove it from my life. Lead me to live a life that draws people to you. Help me live my life on Earth in a way that impacts eternity. Amen.

This post was written by Ben Bockert. Ben is a proud husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He is honored to serve as the Director of the LivingItOut Bible Study.

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11 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    I feel like when I struggle in one area, it effects the other areas of my life. For instance persistent physical pain causes mental anguish which spurs spiritual doubts. Focusing on God breaks the chain reaction and takes way any stronghold the devil tries to put on me. Occasionally I need help, and I’m so glad God had placed people in my life that can pray with and for me, a Bible with passages full of promise, and a Spirit that fights my battles. You reminded me today that I wouldn’t understand if the Spirit wasn’t in me. Thank you for the reassurance Ben!

  2. Jeffery Ovens
    Jeffery Ovens says:

    The struggle IS real.
    Reference to “changing from the inside out” has been a part of numerous sermons since I have been attending CedarCreek.
    The King of my heart trumps all.

  3. Ben Snyder
    Ben Snyder says:

    I love this line – help me live my life in a way that impacts eternity! Yes!! Give me more spiritual vision!

  4. Marna Ward
    Marna Ward says:

    The start of that prayer, “Father, I ask you to search my heart…” and I found myself then pausing right there, reflecting on how he made us with 3 parts and that the spiritual is already changed! I can trust He will grow me to live more and more from all that He has given.

  5. Josh Whitlow
    Josh Whitlow says:

    “If you find anything in me offensive…” this prayer can be so scary to pray because it can cause us to take steps that can be uncomfortable in the moment, but so freeing as we take them. Thanks Ben!

  6. Joe Ernst
    Joe Ernst says:

    I agree that the struggle is real. A light bulb went on in my head at this weekends service when Ben stated that even though we cannot see the wind, we can see the effects of the wind, and the same is true with the Spirit. Thank you for the reminder to keep our focus on God and the Spirit!

  7. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    “Lead me to a life that draws people to me” that is a humbling and scary ask! Love it.

  8. Shawn Bellner
    Shawn Bellner says:

    Every day I am taking steps in trusting God more. The line, “Stop fixating on the struggle and start focusing on God,” was another great reminder to keep trusting Him.

  9. Andy
    Andy says:

    10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets.

    “Awareness of the spiritual dimension is the first step toward gaining spiritual vision.”

    Yes! That’s huge and far too easy to forget. I need constant reminders of God and his life on throughout my day.

  10. Jaime Shank
    Jaime Shank says:

    I often need the reminder to stop fixating on the struggle. With the strengths of restorative and strategic ( Strength finder’s for reference) I often look at what needs to be tweaked or changed to be better, which defaults to me focusing on the struggle. It is such a good reminder to really be focused on the Who and trust the what, where and when’s to Him. The more I lean in, the more He will care for every other detail including what I have been so entrenched with.

  11. Julia Grubinski
    Julia Grubinski says:

    I love the part where you said “When we trust God, we can begin to see things the way God sees them. Our struggles won’t go away, but we will see them differently and recognize the next steps that we need to take.”
    The struggles won’t go away. It’s so true, but when we trust God incredible things happen! Thank you for this truth!

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