The Struggle

If you don't want to read something that is very similar to the blunt honesty of the Psalms, I encourage you to keep scrolling past this blog post.

For here in this post, I am going to be candid and blunt about something which I am titling “The Struggle.”

Chess set before Fire
I now address whomever is still left-may I be upfront and open with you all?

I am struggling!

No, I don’t have it all together no matter how well I may be able to fake it.

So many people wrongly paint the Christian walk as a yellow brick road with roses on both sides under a sunny, cloud-free sky.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Allow me to share a few quotes directly from the Word as spoken by Jesus concerning the Christian life.

“Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” - Matthew 7:14

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33b

“Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me.” - Luke 9:23b

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” - John 15:19

“The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.” - John 16:2b

The truth of the matter, we were not promised easy lives as believers. To be clear, I am certainly not advocating that the Christian life is simply a life of woe. Yes, there is indeed Christ’s joy, peace, love, comfort, eternal life and the hope of Heaven. I am not trying to minimize those aspects by any means! I find great comfort in knowing my Savior and His great love for me! Yet, at the same time I don’t want to minimize the struggle either. (Hebrews 12:4, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Timothy 6:12a, 1 John 2:1)

To be honest, today has been a rough day. The war has been intense. I am exhausted, tired, worn out, discouraged and if it wasn’t for the burning knowledge that God has called me to be the light of the world, I’d like to pull out of the fight and curl up in a corner. (Matthew 5:16)

The enemy seems to be winning battle after battle in this world, Bible study and prayer haven't been coming as easy as I thought they would after I graduated and I feel like there is just too much on my plate to accomplish.
I’ll even admit I wonder at times how effective my ministry really is to others…

Oh, the struggle!

I’m constantly wrestling with how to live in the world yet not be of it. (Romans 12:2)
Oh, the vileness of sin! How it makes my righteous anger burn! Yet, how powerless do I feel at times from it’s relentless attack on the world. (Romans 8:22, Psalm 37:14)
Trending! How can compromise be accepted into the lives of so many believers? How can sin be called conviction? (Ephesians 5:1-20)
I hear the cries of thousands upon thousands descending into the fiery pits of Hell. There are just too many to reach along this cliff’s edge and not enough time! (Romans 6:23a, Matthew 7:13b, Revelation 4:11a)
Oh, where are my fellow warriors in Christ? Why do I feel so alone in this war? My heart cries out in weariness. (Romans 11:5)
I tremble, fearing that I am not living my life to the full for Christ as I should. (Ephesians 4:1)
I realize I am a saint, but oh, I am so far from where I’d like to be in my Christ-likeness! (2 Corinthians 4:16)
The world hates me, it mocks me, curses me, I am called a fool in their eyes. (John 17:14)
The things of this world glitter, I know they are worthless, so why does their glint still attract my eye? (Matthew 6:19-21, Proverbs 23:5)
Oh! That same sin! How could it trip me up again!?!? (1 John 1:9)
No! I don’t want to believe it! I grew up with that person, we sang Jesus Loves Me together…please no, they have walked away from the Lord? (Psalm 55:12-14)
The battle of the mind, it is a constant war, as thoughts intrude that I don’t desire to be present. Constantly driving them out is draining. (2 Corinthians 10:5b)
The dishes are calling, Lord, I was just about to put the finishing touches on a film that could reach thousands, can’t the unimportant wait? (Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31)
I’m ministering to others all over the nation and this world, why do I find it so difficult at times to reach out to my own family? (1 Corinthians 13:13, 1 John 3:18)
Lord, I know I need to spend time in prayer and studying your Word, but I am so busy ministering today, I think we are going to have to postpone our time together till tomorrow. (Psalm 119:72, 105, 1 Thessalonians 5:17)
The rain of arrows is thick, swords are flashing, the sound of metal upon metal rings in my ears as my shield works overtime.
I feel like I am trudging uphill through mud in a battle I am severely outnumbered in. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Welcome brothers and sisters, to the struggle!

I close my eyes, exhausted. Leaning against a tree, I let the rush of battle dissipate, yet I know all too well this is but a momentary rest. Opening my eyes, I look to my left and see my brilliant sword still secure in my hand. Words from the Sword of the Spirit begin to rush through my mind like streams of water in a dry and parched land.

More than conquerors through Him who loved us…be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power…God’s power is made perfect in weakness…thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Christ Jesus…I press on…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear…at the present time there is a remnant...God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit…And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose…for everyone born of God overcomes the world…God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us!

My heart refreshed, I look up. Sure enough, more warriors are advancing, the battle is about to be rejoined again.

I rise slowly. I am still weary and worn, but my God is not. Yes, the struggle is real, but it was never about me being strong enough to resist and continue to forge ahead. Rather, it has always been about my submission to God and His power freely working through me. So as the attacks of the enemy come, I will lift mine eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? It comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. When discouragement sets in, I will encourage my heart in the unchanging nature and power of my God. When my strength is low, I will lean even deeper into the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me. Yes, brothers and sisters, the struggle is real, yet we are in a war, so what else should we expect?

I encourage all of you, you are not alone in your struggling! I don’t know what your struggle might look like, but I do know you are going through one. It might look slightly different or vastly different from mine, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

Turn your eyes to God, cry out to Him! He loves His children and His power is unlimited! We have victory in Jesus Christ! When you are discouraged, recall to mind His truth! The Word has certainly lifted my spirit tonight! When you are knocked down, rise right back up again! When you stumble in a sword fight, you don’t drop to your knees and quit, you quickly regain your footing and press on!

Let us continue to encourage and spur one another on toward Christ! Let us continue steadfast in prayer for one another! Let us be real and vulnerable with one another. None of us has it all together. Yet, that doesn’t matter. Our salvation is based on the sufficiency of Christ’s finished work, not our own sufficiency and good works.

With that in mind, eyes on Christ and forward to battle in the victory we have been given in Christ!

"What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31