Inside: When life is great it’s easy to focus on Christ but there is a struggle in the Christian life, we need to make sure we focus on what God tells us.
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Friend- I think I’ve been living wrong for too long. It’s time I aired out my dirty laundry.
I thought that following Christ should be easy and life should be problem-free but what I’ve discovered is life is full of lots of problems. Let me re-phrase this, every day, every minute is full of struggles.
Life is a lot of moments where I’d like to be just like my dirty laundry.
Stinky. Wrinkly. And I need a good wash job to come out clean again.
Here’s the thing, if I was under this myth, many some of you have also fallen for it.
I mean, don’t we expect when we partner up with the Creator of the Universe to have some innate ability to be above the problems?
Or maybe that is pride speaking up saying:
I don’t deserve this because I walk with God…
God made a mistake (maybe this was meant for someone else), and He will fix it asap ….
Or my favorite (the one I badger myself with) I need to work harder and spend more time in the Word because I must not be faith-filled enough.
So here I lived in this delusion bypassing Christ’s words when He told me to expect trouble.
It isn’t the absence of trouble that makes Christians unique, but the abiding with Christ which makes us able to handle it all.
(John 15:11, NLT).
11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
I want this joy, but yet in the same train of thought, I think, “yeah right; I don’t know if I can ever get there, and what does it mean anyway?!?”
We’ve already confirmed that life is promised to be full of trouble, so how do we find joy (especially when we are exhausted by the struggle of life)?
Struggle in the Christian Life
One of the greatest examples in the Bible of thankfulness when life was hard to stomach was Paul.
As Paul spread the Good News, not only did the followers of Christ grow, but those who despised Paul (and the Lord) grew also.
Paul was lashed with whips, and he sat for two years in prison; Paul was shipwrecked; Paul was bound by chain and under house arrest, etc.
Paul was ravaged by a life of struggle, and yet through all these struggles and trials, Paul tells us to:
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT).
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Here’s the answer to how to find joy even when life is a struggle:
We can be joyful because we know it’s part of God’s plan for our lives.
Although, we might not understand we know that everything God does is out of love for us (1 John 4:16).
God has good things planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
If you need some verses to encourage you, here’s my post about Strength in Hard times!
5 Truths of God When We Need a Re-Focus
- God is faithful.
- He never changes.
- Feelings will constantly change.
- My feelings will confuse, twist and lie to me. (Satan is all too happy to join in the punching session also).
- God rules this world and is victorious. He has a reason for everything.
I don’t know about you, but hearing these truths comforts my heart.
Joy can be found when we press in closer with trust in our Savior. He loves us and has us securely in the palm of his hand.
He knows what He’s doing in our lives and has a plan for everything!
Here’s a post on why trusting God is key to life.
God Still Blesses Us Even in the Midst of the Struggle
Here is where God’s grace comes in. Even in the midst of my feelings and the hard circumstances that might plague me, God still extends blessings to me.
The truth is, tough seasons will continually come here on Earth. We are promised to experience them in the Bible. While the human side of us might feel like we’re missing out, the soul side of us knows that God is using all of this to grow us.
Finding joy during whatever we are going through is the mark of Christ in us that is meant to be seen by others.
If you haven’t read Corrie ten Boom’s story, I urge you to get her book.
She was a Jewish woman enprisoned in the death camps during the Holocaust. Corrie was able to rise above her circumstances and find joy and eventually go on to forgive her perpetrators.
If you need a boost of inspiration and encouragement, get her book now!
(John 16:33, NLT).
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Choose to be Thankful When Life is a Struggle
These seasons strengthen our faith and cause us to be refined like Jesus. God has pre-filtered out what we will experience and learn in these seasons. He’s making us the best we can be.
It’s easy to practice joy and thankfulness when we are elated at life, but it’s faith-building when we display it in the midst of the mess. Even when our heart doesn’t feel like the festive mood everyone else is in.
Thankfulness is a choice. We have to choose to experience it. It’s a deliberate action on our part. We can practice being grateful even when we don’t feel like it inside.
We find our ability to display these fruits of the Spirit when we are in a daily, intimate connection with our Savior. The close encounter we build will help us traverse the great seasons and the seasons that stink.
We will find joy for living and thankfulness that surpasses all the chaos and sinking lows.
You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent TimesYou’ll Get Through This Study Guide: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent TimesHope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through DepressionHope Prevails Bible Study: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through DepressionThe Hiding PlaceCorrie ten Boom: A Faith UndefeatedAmazing Love: True Stories of the Power of Forgiveness