I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7).
Last Sunday I gave a small presentation to a class about our how lives are difficult, but thankfully for Christians, those difficulties are safely contained in a dot of time compared to the forever expanse of eternity. During a question and answer time that followed, a person commented on the tendency for some Christians to think their life will be easy because Jesus will bless and protect them. He does, but not through consistently easy circumstances. I gave a quick three point answer and moved on last week, but I have found myself reflecting on my answer and it has deepened in meaning all week long.
It is unreasonable for anyone to think life is easy.
In Genesis 3:13-19, we learn that along with spiritual death–separation from God–Adam and Eve were cursed with physical death, sickness, a struggle to earn a living, and the operative presence of the devil in the world. All of us who have been born since have lived under this same curse of spiritual death with all of its consequences. Collectively, this death and the consequences are referred to as “the curse.”
It is reasonable for Christians to believe our lives will be MORE difficult.
1. The enemy does not want us in relationship with anyone.
In the world of spiritual battle where the enemy is feverishly trying to thwart God’s purposes on earth, it will be difficult for anyone who has Jesus readily on their lips to enter into a relationship with anyone. Quite frankly, since the enemy is out to seek, steal and destroy (John 10:10), he will be throwing every lie in the book into the minds of anyone we are trying to approach because he does NOT want us in any person’s life.
In the end, God wins in relationships every day all around the globe, but it is because Christians are willing to slog their way through the obstacles and persist no matter what. Then God’s love wins.
2. God needs us to be in relationship with difficult people.
If we only love people who love us back, then we will look no different than anyone else on the globe (Luke 6:32-36). Therefore, by definition, Christians MUST have difficult people in their lives in order for the world to see God’s brand of love.
Life will be a fight either way.
Besides living under the curse, we either live life our way or God’s way. If our way, we fight the bad fight of dealing with the consequences of our sin. If we live God’s way, we fight the good fight of slogging our way into every relationship and loving difficult people. We either fight the bad fight that includes the consequences of our sin, or we fight the good fight of aiming to live a godly life no matter what (Philippians 1:27)
The only way to escape the fight.
This is my opinion, but the only solution I can come up with to make life as easy as possible would be to live life God’s way but never share Jesus with anyone. A person living life like this would be spared consequences of their personal sin and would not attract much of the enemy’s attention because he or she is not attempting to advance the kingdom of God. Such believers are living good lives and keeping their salvation to themselves.
I have signed up for the good fight!
Personally, I shudder to think I would ever be described as a Christian living a “safe” life. Lord, may it never be. I am going for it. Please join me. Let’s live our faith in a transparent fashion and display God’s nature to a watching world. Let’s break ground! You can sign up to be a groundbreaker by clicking on the GROUNDBREAKERS tab on the home page of this website, then click Let’s Break Ground!. The list is new in the making, so it’s only a few people long. Surely, there are many more! Let’s fill the globe.
God is only asking for a dot.
Are you hesitating? If the reason is because this life seems like a lot to surrender, please remember that life is short.
Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow (Psalm 144:4).
God has been gracious enough to contain this chaos into a dot of time that is invisible to the naked eye on the timeline of eternity. What an amazing deal. The difficulties of the good fight are contained in a time-frame as short as a blink of an eye, a breath, or a quick burst of air to blow out a single birthday candle.
…You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes (James 4:14).
Let’s take the world by storm.
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