God never said it would be easy, being a Christian.
He never said, “Follow me and live a pain-free life!”
He said, “Take up your cross and follow me.”
Deciding to commit your life to Christ might come with more trials than you would have faced had you decided not to. There will be spiritual battles, physical battles, mental battles, emotional battles and more.
Sounds like a lot of fun, huh?
What makes it worth it is the prize at the end of this race. When you decide to let Jesus reign over your heart, you have the promise of eternity in Heaven living a life we can’t even fathom.
Another plus? Peace and joy that surpass the understanding the human mind. It won’t make sense to anyone around you that you can have joy through trials, but you will know Who it’s coming from.
I think people often look at Christians and assume we are just always on top of the world singing praise and worship songs with all the best friends we made at church. And that is true some of the time, but there are lots of lows that Christians experience just like everyone else. It’s how we lean on Jesus that sets us apart and gives us the joy the world sees.
Depression is real. Comparison is real. Divorce is real. Debt is real. Death is real. Jealousy is real. Anxiety is real.
But none of those things are from God and they have all been defeated by Him.
And if you’re struggling to accept their defeat and accept your victory, you are not alone.
I think it’s so important to know that Christians still struggle. It’s easy to give up if you start to struggle and feel like you’re the only one, but you’re not, friend. You are surrounded by other followers of Jesus who face difficult times, too. And if you read The Bible, you will find a whole lot of imperfect people struggling and choosing Jesus anyway.
Life can just be plain hard sometimes. Church can be hard. Friendships can be hard. Marriage can be hard. Work can be hard. Getting out of bed can be hard.
There have been seasons of my life when I didn’t want to go back to church. There have been seasons when I didn’t want to get out of bed. There have been seasons when my job was absolutely draining me. There have been seasons when my friendships seemed to fall apart all around me. There have been so many seasons of struggle, but the key is: you cannot quit.
It sounds simple, but it’s not. It’s so much easier to throw the towel in and give up. It’s way easier to just lay in bed and throw yourself a pity party. And it definitely takes less energy to just be alone and wallow in the negativity. But none of those things will make your life better – trust me, I’ve tried them all.
I recently wrote a post about walking through the wilderness and believing God is taking you to your Promised Land. The wilderness can be so overwhelming. It’s so hard to see through the trees. It feels like you might never get out.
But I also heard Luke 5:16 today – “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness to pray.” And it reminded me that while the wilderness can be a place of pain, it can also be a place of prayer.While the wilderness can be a place of pain, it can also be a place of prayer. Click To Tweet
If you’re struggling in your walk with God, and need a few simple steps to remind yourself Who He is, try listing all His names out loud and see if you don’t feel a powerful peace wash over you.
Yahweh, Jehovah, King, Comforter, Father, Redeemer, Counselor, Healer, Friend, El Roi. And there are so many more.
Get in the habit of reading your Bible every day, even if you have to start out with only one verse. You’ll get addicted and crave more of His wisdom.
And go to church. Just go. You don’t have to be on the front row and serve at every event. Just go. You will find yourself wanting to serve on teams and be more involved the more you just go.
One more thing – surround yourself with people you fill up your cup and serve as arrows that point you to your true North, which is always Jesus. There are people you encourage and that is so great, but please make sure you have encouragers around you as well. You can’t pour out if you aren’t being poured into.
Please remember that your struggle season is not forever, even if it seems that way. You may not see the reasons for your struggles or the fruits of your labor this side of Heaven, but you will on the other side.
The difficulties that come with following Jesus are overshadowed by the freedom that comes with following Him.
John 14:2-4 says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
And Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven…”
On our toughest days, we can find one thing to rejoice about, and that is Heaven and the promise of living in the presence of God forever.
No struggle has ever been so great that it was not nailed to the cross and left there to die. Because the only thing that rose from death was and is Jesus, not your sins and not your strife, only Jesus.