April 26, 2014.
The Christian walk is hard. I don’t think we should sugar coat it. The truth of the matter is, the flesh makes constant war against the spirit. This war can be taxing and may even seem hopeless at times. I think we have all been at the place where it felt like we just couldn’t fight sin and had no choice but to give in. I’ve been there. I will be there again. It is hard to wade through those waters, and too often do I just give up and let myself sink.
Why do we feel this way? Is it because God is not there to help us? I don’t think so. I think quite the opposite. I believe that God is always there, ready and wiling to help, but we are not willing to let him. I know this has been the case in my life. Many times have I been about to do something that I know is not right and I think “well, I could pray…” But then I don’t. If I’m being honest, some part of me did not want God to help. We want to satisfy the flesh. There’s almost an insurmountable need for us to do so. Thus, we push God under the rug and continue on our merry way.
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?“ My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
When I read through this passage, I almost took offense at first. “What do you mean I’m not trying hard enough?! I live a rough life, you just don’t understand.” But then you realize that the Hebrew writer is talking about the one person who does understand. Jesus. Our perfect High Priest, who has been through it all, so as to know what each of us are going through.
Discipline. Do you know what you need to do anything well? Discipline. It takes work to live the Christian life. Christ never promised us an easy time, but he did promise glory. He never promised a stress free environment, but he did promise peace. He never promised continual happiness, but he did promise joy. See how that works? I don’t always. But I know he will be there, and we need not forget that. Even when we want to.
As I’m writing this, it may seem like I have a handle on this and that I’m just giving advise. Whereas I do think it is good advise, I do not have this down at all. This is probably what I am struggling with most right now. Sometimes you just want things to be easy. “Why won’t God just take away my worldly desires? Then all this would be easy!” But what we have to realize is that easy doesn’t produce any results worth getting. What results do you get sitting on the couch all day as opposed to exercising? What results do you get from not studying instead of studying? I believe we mentally understand the concept of discipline, but we just don’t want to physically implement it. That’s how it is for me at least.
So what can we do? I suppose that is up to the person. If you need more scriptural knowledge, set up a regiment of reading. If you need a closer relationship to God, set aside a good amount of daily time to talk to him. If you need help, take the initiative to get to know your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Whatever it is, just do it. Even if it is hard. The worst thing we can do is to be apathetic. If you try and fail, try again. Just don’t stop. That’s what true failure is.
Suggested Daily Reading: Hebrews 12, James 2, Revelation 2-3.
Let us bear one another’s burdens.