Transforming Ordinary People into Extraordinary Followers of Christ

The Controller of Struggles – a post from Sam Wallace

The desire to escape struggle

We all go through struggles. It can be almost anything: depression, death, addictions, you name it. Our question is always: how do we break free from those struggles? The only problem with that is the fact Christ himself struggled when he came in the flesh.

One of those struggles was when Satan tempted Jesus after He fasted for forty days. During those forty days Satan tempted Jesus in more than one way. He tempted Him with everything from eating bread to even following Satan himself.

Instead of bow to temptation, Jesus chose to be hungry, and he chose to struggle. I’m sure at that point, struggling is inevitable, if even the perfect son does it by choice.

When we struggle, we are put into a situation so that all we can see is our problem, and the fact that we can’t escape. Probably the biggest problem I have is the tendency to want people to love me. Now, that might not seem so bad, but it can be when I let my joy rest on that, because joy will then fluctuate based on people’s love.

Last night I was texting one of my friends, and this topic came up.

This person replied by saying that I should be patient, and just focus on improving myself with Christ. Since I’m already a crier, I was on the verge of letting it becoming a waterfall. They were good tears though, because the less pressure we have of realizing our struggles, the more we trust the one who handles our struggles.

Losing everything to gain God

The reality is that we can never avoid struggling, which means that our faith will be tested in more than one way. However, we can change our perspective about it along the way. That is when we give up control, and sometimes this very thing can become our struggle.

There are times when we might not see it as dangerous, but God can somehow use that as a test for believing that if we have nothing but Him, we still have everything we need.

Once we learn that, it is kind of like a quote from Voyage of the Dawn Treader, “hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” It’s almost as if God is trying to tell us that we need to learn moving forward as we understand by looking backwards.

How do we give up control like that? Two words: feel loved. By doing that we look to the cross by imagining his blood coming down, and knowing that He did that for us. Jesus died for us because he knew how bad we were, but he loves us so much, he was happy to do it.

Struggle, Love, and Obedience

I have one question for you as well as myself. Is it more important to obey God or to believe He loves you?

The thing is that we can never fully obey God, but he loves us the same regardless of our mistakes, and that is called grace. If we focus on just obeying God and following these rules, then we are no different than the Pharisees.

They were called “keepers of the Law,” the ones that kept adding to God’s law, and yet Jesus calls them hypocrites. As a result, Jesus’s view of sin is more than just missing the mark, and just because something isn’t a sin doesn’t mean it is wise.

Soren Kierkegaard would say sin is building one’s own identity rather than letting God build it. In other words, sin is much more of a motivation than it is a mistake. However, just because we are Christians, it doesn’t mean we will not sin again.

Romans 2:4 says that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance, not some laws. He is more approachable this way because if we live loved, our hearts will be transformed, both into wanting to obey, and to know that, as Isaiah 43:2 states, He is with us both through the fire, and through the water.

To those who are going through a struggle right now, just know that even though you can’t change the circumstance, it doesn’t mean that you are alone. That’s what is amazing about who God is. He sits on his throne, and at the same time he chases us all the way down into hell to bring us into the relationship He already has within Himself.

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