Daily life as a Christian can be an overwhelming undertaking at times. There are decisions that require us to sacrifice and trust, there are moments when we must turn the other cheek, moments when we must forgive and let go, there are relationships that we must foster and give preference to over ourselves, and there are seductive temptations that we must run and flee from. It is easy to be confused by the daily struggles I face while striving to live life as a Christian. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing something wrong, or if bad decisions will haunt me the rest of my life. If John 10:10 says that Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly, why is it that we experience so many challenges and temptations in our lives as Christians?
I have found that as I try to grow closer to God, the spiritual battles become more intense. And the realization more apparent that I am in way over my head. But with the increase in struggles, comes the increase in grace. And with the increase in grace, comes the increase in the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome. There is nothing that a follower of Christ cannot overcome. Nothing! And as we experience the tumultuous cycle of struggling and overcoming, we make small steps of victory that add up. Slowly, we gain acceleration on the uphill climb that will all culminate on the day we see Jesus. And, oh, will it be so worth it!
1 John 3:2-3 says this,
“Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed.
We know that when he appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is.
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself.” (emphasis mine)
So we strive to take small steps of victory now because we – who have surrendered to His Lordship – already belong to Him. We are His. And we purify ourselves because we have this hope. One day we will see Him. It compels us to live for Jesus in every aspect of our lives. Will we fail?…yes. Will be struggle?…yes. Will we doubt?…yes. But we have this hope, and this hope does not disappoint! We may struggle now, but one day we will see Him as He is and He will illuminate who we really are… a perfect, blameless child of the living God.
In the meantime, though, it can seem like the weight of failures, big and small, eclipse our ability to believe that God fully loves us right now. We think, God will love me in heaven when I’m perfect, but He’s just tolerating me right now. But that’s not what the bible says! The Bible says in John 3:16 that God so loved the world that he sent his son only son to die for the world. And it doesn’t stop there. There’s a sweetness in verse 17 that says, “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (emphasis mine) If God did not condemn you then, He is not condemning you now. He just wants the chance to cover you in His righteousness, that you might be saved and eternally loved forever.
The good news is…we have a God who understands. We have a God who came down to meet us. He came to be human. He came to feel what we feel. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin.” Jesus cares about your struggle. Jesus knows what it feels like. Jesus wants to make you whole. He’s the only one who can. Because He, being God, is the only one who came down to live the perfect human life as an exchange for your life and mine.
So in the midst of our struggles, challenges, temptations and failures, I am reminded of 2 Timothy 2:13, which says, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself!” What a comfort! To know that –if we are in Christ –we are seen by God in the same way that He sees Jesus! Worthy, spotless, pure, righteous and so loved. This identity compels us to overcome. It enables us to walk as He walked. For we are not trying to earn our salvation by the way we overcome obstacles. We already have our salvation if we surrender to Him, and thus, are compelled to overcome by taking small steps of victory.
“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Questions for today:
• What challenges or temptations am I facing right now?
• What is holding me back from receiving God’s grace and power to overcome that?
• What failure is holding me back from receiving God’s love for me?
• What small step of victory is God asking me to take in my relationship with Him?