Is your life of faith a struggle? Yes? Great!!!!!!

Devotional/Discussion thought of the Day…..


12  I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. 13  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. 14  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. 15  So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! 16  Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.   Philippians 3:12-16 (MSG)

  Another paradox of the spiritual way: the soul which has less need to reform its behaviour struggles harder to do so, and does not stop until it has succeeded. And the contrary is also true. (1)

Back in the 1980’s, there was a saying, “life’s a bitch, and then you die….”   There are days I think we said things like that.. and were a bunch of whiney little brats.  There are other days, where looking at the pains of life, whether physical or emotional or spiritual, and the saying is dead on accurate.

Life isn’t always easy.   The life of faith, living each day trusting in God’s promises, isn’t easier.  If anything, it takes more courage, more strength of character, more trust, not blind trust, but committed trust to promises that can only be known within our heart and soul.  You see, our mind will tell us, over and over again, that such trust is based in nothing, that there is no tangible evidence for it.   People will mock you for it, and there will be days so trying of our faith, that we won’t know which way to turn.

And yet, a life lived in faith is more determined to prevail.  We struggle harder, we search harder, we do not stop or give up.  Even when we are crushed, beaten, depressed, wiped out, when nothing makes sense.  When we battle against sin, our sin, “their” sin, the damage caused by centuries and millennia of people just like us.   Somehow, no not somehow, because of the trust God has given us, because He has revealed Himself to us, we endure.  We realize that there is something more that what we struggle with, that there is more strength that we have been given, that every challenge is not so much a challenge to overcome, but a challenge to trust.

And so we do.

A friend’s dad was often mocked as a proponent of positive thinking.  He wasn’t the kind of pastor who proclaimed that if we believe we’ll be rich, we will be, not the name it claim it type of positive thinking.  But instead the kind of positive thinking shown in Paul’s epistle above – that we can strive, that we can keep going, that in the toughest times, God’s presence brings us toughness.  That the scars that we carry, are used by God to cause in us growth, such growth that is remarkable.  Not because we are tougher, but because we are more aware of His presence in our life.  You see, we have no option but Jesus, we have no comfort but His presence.

And yes we struggle – hard.  Even as Paul notes that Christ has already reached out, saved and secured us… we still have to struggle with what that means.  Even as life is painful.  Even as we see people struggle financially, losing jobs, not having enough money to pay bills.  Even as we see others deal with family crises.  Even as we see people deal with heart disease or cancer, with memory issues or just getting old.  As we see people struggle with the fact that they are in bondage to sin… or they try to ignore that fact, because of the grip that sin has on them.  And so we wait and pray, and pray, and attempt here and there to help them realize their sin, that they may realize the blessing of God’s mercy.

As St. Josemarie says – the more we know these things – the more we mature in our faith and yes, in our battle against sin, the harder it comes….

Greater as well though grows the strength and desire to push on, to lay ahold of these truths, to trust in the Lord who has grasped us.   Our effort redoubles, our desire begins to conform to His.

For our trust in Him grows… each and every time we see His hand at work.

We don’t find life easier, we don’t find it simpler… but we don’t need to… for we know He will bring us through all things…

Of that we can be positive.  Our positive thinking has nothing to do with us… and everything to do with Him.

So is life a struggle?  Is trusting in Jesus challenging?  That’s okay… the struggle is worth far more… than the lack of struggling could be…

Oh and btw  – the “die” in the phrase that started this blog?  Have you considered what comes after our death?  Exactly what is promised to us when we died spiritually in our baptism into Christ.  The difference is we shall see Him face to face!

Stained glass window of the sacred Heart of Je...

(1)  Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 858-860). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on August 16, 2013, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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