When Christianity is a Struggle…

crossA tough concept that a lot of people have a hard time understanding is the idea of someone having a good understanding of Christianity, but being unable to apply what they know to real situations in their lives. Truth is, we all know that person, have been that person or even know a local church that is led by such an individual.

I have been through a season of learning and re-learning some hard lessons that I thought I knew; but clearly didn’t have a good understanding of. I might have had head knowledge but I really lacked revelatory knowledge and it almost wreaked havoc in my life as I was making one hypocritical and selfish choice after the other because it “felt” right at the time.

The first thing I forgot was:

  1. I didn’t choose this life; God chose me for it.

Not only that…. He didn’t choose this life for me in spite; it was out of the goodness of His heart. It was an act of love, grace, mercy and kindness that I could never earn or hope to deserve in my own right. As we popularize phrases such as “the struggle is real” we’re actually not that different from the murmurers who had just been rescued from a life of slavery but just can’t stop complaining about how they miss their old life and how hard it is to be under a cool cloud during the day, a fire in the cool of the night with free meals and shoes that never grow old. Challenges will be there, but so is His grace.

Ephesians 1:4-5

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,”

Don’t ever get it twisted. You don’t find Jesus. You’re the one with the ability to get lost. You’re the one that cries out in anguish at the severity of how hopelessly lost you are and then He comes to your rescue. People turn around at some point and question this as if they were given a number of equally viable options. I recently made the mistake of thinking that there are somehow a few other alternatives to living solely and whole-heartedly for God; like Christianity-Lite? You still get that flavor, but it’s not that intense? Nope; not possible. You’re either in or out. When you’re in, you can’t negotiate the terms. When you’re out, you’re out. Everybody knows this; but when it’s convenient, we act like nobody told us. Consider yourself reminded.

2. I Have Work to Do

We’re not saved so that we gain entitlement to a wish-list that God needs to fulfil for us. We’re not saved to fill the seats at the local church. We’re not even saved so that we can live happy, comfortable lives. It’s amazing how we settle into this cosy little life of never ever rocking any boats and never rubbing anyone up the wrong way and always showing off the neatest little family and life that we can. A life of always showing off our best side and looking Insta-perfect. A life of mingling with good Christian people who are doing well and are happily married and always being invited to their events. A life of comfortable seats and coffee after the service. We’re almost proud of a life of non-service; a life of always being on the receiving end of blessings, and prosperity and uplifting sermons, and Godly spouses and jobs, and cars and houses and prophecies and miracles… These are all good things that we enjoy, but how easily we forget the call of duty. If we are to step out and do something, we need to pray and fast and hear an audible voice from the Lord that we should do it, or it’s simply not for us to do it. It’s for “those” Christians. Only those with a “servant heart” serve. Only evangelists evangelize. Only intercessors stand in the gap for others… It’s a trap. If you’re saved, you’ve been recruited and you have work to do and you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone to do it. Never forget this.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Romans 8:30

and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

John 15:16

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

We were created for good works. We were created to be of service. We were created to be solution-bearers for the ills of society. We are here on assignment. He has called each and every one of us according to our different areas of giftings and according to the grace upon our lives to excel and be effective. We have been appointed and anointed to bear fruit that remains, not in just a biological sense, but in every area of our lives. We need to bear fruit in terms of creative ideas… businesses, concepts…We need to bear fruit in terms of the time and resources that we invest. We need to see profitable gain in how we make use of every day that we have been given. We need to bear fruit in the form of mentees and disciples that we have taken under our wing. Let whatever leaves your hands, flourish.  

3. Turning to Jesus, means turning away from everything else

This is is the most important thing I’ve learnt of late. Yes, I’m nine years into this walk, but on the long list of Christian things that are easier said than done, this has to be on the top. Saying Yes to Him, means saying no to a lot of things; and at the the beginning, you may not be aware of all the things that you are saying No to. Likewise, saying yes to a spouse means saying No to everyone else no matter the circumstances, no matter the pressure you are under, no matter what your spouse does or doesn’t do. I see many people aspiring to saying those words “I do” long before they have learnt how to firmly say “I don’t” and that’s something that will definitely come back to haunt you in a big way.

There are many reasons why you may still struggle to say “I don’t.  

  • You lack revelation. You actually don’t see the point of why you should quit that bad habit, so you aren’t even  convicted anymore. In fact, you think it’s legalistic to try to stop. You’ve even convinced yourself that some things just get filed in a cabinet called “Grace” and you believe that God will get over it because His grace is sufficient and you’ve probably tried to stop and failed a few times, and somebody told you it’s totally “natural” so it’s not that bad if it’s natural right?
  • You don’t know who you are. I always marvel at people who represent a big brand as they tweet something so controversial, that they end up not only losing their jobs, but creating a media nightmare for the company that they represent while they’re at it. In that moment, they forgot whose name they were carrying. The same could be said of Christians. Instead of saying: “I don’t do this, I don’t speak like this, I don’t get myself into situations like this, because I said I do to Christ”, We suffer the same lapse in judgement and drag the whole entire Kingdom of God into our mess.
  • You don’t know where you’re going. If you have a meeting at 08:00, generally you would set an alarm to make sure you don’t oversleep, you would plan your outfit, make a choice to either catch a very quick breakfast or even decide to forgo breakfast in order to make that appointment. Someone with no plans for the day tends to not even notice how much time they waste on unfruitful things; they oversleep, over-indulge on television, and let the day go however it goes. Same goes for someone with no appointment with destiny. You end up letting life happen to you instead of you maximising all your resources to push you towards where you’re supposed to be in the shortest amount of time possible.
  • Jesus is your Saviour but not your Lord. Maybe you got duped. Maybe the person who evangelized to you sold you a dream. Maybe you were told that if you come to church and say a prayer, you get this awesomely loving friend who just wants to bless you with all your heart’s desires. He doesn’t judge you and He’s just a really really nice guy.Oh, and everybody goes to heaven! Maybe you weren’t told that He is King, and Lord and rules forever and ever. He is sovereign, almighty and all powerful. He is a warrior in battle. He WILL judge you! Trust and believe that you will give an account before Him at the end of time. He is Holy and His children walk in righteousness and are pure and blameless before Him. I’m just saying… He loves you, but you serve Him. You wait on Him. Not the other way around.
  • You’re in the flesh. Your feelings rule your whole entire life and you’re flaky and don’t know where you stand because they are irrational and illogical. Turn off the TV. Turn off Beyonce. Get a grip. Read the word. Pray and Fast. Your spirit is hungry.

4. Be Spirit-Led

As you grow in the knowledge of Him, you start to realize that a lot of the time it may not even be the letter of the word that convicts you to change; but a keen awareness of your heart just not being in the right place. Receiving the Holy spirit is not just about the outward manifestations that Pentecostals love to stretch to all sorts of weird and wonderful limits in their gatherings; sometimes it’s just about having a very deep knowing about what you are supposed to aspire to in this life, what you shouldn’t, who is a Godly influence, who isn’t, what is the will of God for your life?  You begin to know what the wisest move will be and not only what the easiest and most natural reaction is.

“these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.12What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.c 14The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16for,“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”

Once you know what you ought to do, that’s where the fun begins… because that’s when you realize that you don’t always want to do what you ought to do and it becomes this tug of war between God’s will and yours. I spent many years in this struggle… but I’ve just realized that it’s because I’ve spent many years just having a knowledge of God’s will and not having the revelation of how infinitely BETTER it is. It really is.

I’m grateful for the people God has surrounded me with. They call me out when I trip. I’m grateful for the husband I share a life with; because he hears God and that’s a treasure when I can’t hear anything but myself sometimes.

Accountability is a gift.

Being teachable can save your life.

He has already overcome this world.

Step into your victory and stay there.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “When Christianity is a Struggle…

  1. This is just so awesome! Wow! It’s honest, thought provoking, convicting and thoroughly written. It really brings across the point of struggle for us Christians, which is wanting what we want instead of reaching out for something infinitely superior. When we get what we thought we wanted, we then realise that we don’t want what we got. It all seems so much better before our eyes are opened to the reality of what is going on behind the facade. God’s plan is really the best and we can’t better it. Well done my sweetheart. I have to share this!

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