We’ve all been there. In that tormenting place of despair. And to be honest with y’all, I have been a frequent visitor. So I may not know your personal situation or circumstances but I do know what it’s like to be losing (or trying to find!) yourself.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)
And that’s the thing, because this whole life process is basically about dying to ourselves in order to be found in Christ. So as you’re trying to fight the good fight, I just want to encourage you (and myself!) not to give up.
We WILL have tribulations! Nobody teaches those kinds of promises but the first thing I want us to remember is that as “Christians” we are supposed to be following the examples of Jesus Christ. And that means that as children of God we will have to endure some suffering.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. (Hebrews 12:1-13, NET)
And remember, you are not the only one suffering!
Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10, NET)
There is a WHOLE BODY of believers who are ultimately fighting toward that same heart, mind and agenda. And no it is not easy when our souls cling to the dust but the scriptures are TRUE . Remember, we are more than CONQUERORS through Jesus!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
I think a lot of us have a misconception about Tribulation. It’s like we only view it as great trouble or suffering caused by oppression or persecution. And that is true but when we start trying to crucify our flesh we don’t see that kind of agony as Tribulation. Which it is, these are the tests and trials the Bible speaks about. (In your own time review 1 Peter chapter 4)
So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:19)
We have to remember that the battle is spiritual, and that we overcome evil by DOING GOOD (Romans 12:21). This is the whole point of being told not to get weary in well doing.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)
It’s all about endurance, and about having that HOPE and faith in God to know that we aren’t obeying (which according to the Bible is loving and worshiping) Him in vain.
Oh how I love this scripture: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)
So lastly, I just want to remind you to guard your hearts with the truth. Because if we accept lies (in any form) our hearts are in danger of being hardened toward the Lord. Jesus told us that we can not serve to masters. So you’re going to have to pledge your allegiance to one or the other. And we do this by the way that we live our lives. Don’t let anyone deceive you, and don’t deceive yourself. Jesus has no pleasure in us being lukewarm. It’s unacceptable. It’s like would you accept being served lukewarm tea or coffee? I mean, i’m just trying to imagine this.
I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)
So I hope that this post really helps us to refocus on what is truly important. I’m praying for you and I hope that you all are praying for me too.