My thoughts today are bouncing like a tormented pinball between this glorious spring morning unwrapping its beauty for the day AND what seems to be a RISE in the “ANGST LEVEL” in Christians worldwide. I can see it in the hundreds of comments coming into this ministry.
My gut says “c’mon, Mark, it’s ALWAYS been like this…we live on earth, not in heaven.” Of course that’s TRUE.
But everyone seems to be in the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS right now. I don’t know if it’s a vestige of COVID or just “the times” or the difficult-to-comprehend war in Ukraine. Or…? But the cause does not matter.
What matters is turning our focus on FOLLOWING JESUS daily in these uncertain times when our life’s door is constantly pounded by the world’s “knocks.”
It’s common for Christians to search for a “How-To-Guide” for following JESUS. But finding such a guide—a snap-your-fingers solution for following Jesus through the hard knocks of life–is elusive because it’s an illusion. This is never a one-and-done move. It requires a daily commitment to seek out God.
Actually, it’s more than an illusion. It is a Satan-created temptation from the darkness that he slips in the middle of a truth like a corrupted car dealer slips an expensive warranty into the deal without telling you. When people fall for the one-and-done lie, they will quickly be discouraged and feel defeated.
These lies come in the middle of a truth sandwich that often makes them sound plausible; sometimes reasonable; and even a few times iron clad. The Enemy’s does it this way to: 1) TEMPT us (of course); and 2) Create DOUBT.
We need to stop looking for MAN-MADE guides and shortcut expressways to following Jesus through the hard knocks of life. We need to realize that growing in Christ and developing the strength to fight off these attacks takes discipline. We need to accept that life is hard, and so is following Jesus. We MUST look to HIS WORD on a daily basis for our guide because it is the ONLY guide.
Life is hard because the world is broken. But God uses the hard knocks of life to: 1) Make us more like him; and 2) Make our faith stronger.
Following Christ is not a walk in the park. It is painful. It is a sacrifice. It is giving up our way for his way. But it is worth it!
I ask God to remind me continually that even though following him is HARD; it IS possible, and he WILL be with me through ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that might try to knock me down.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
What do YOU do when life’s hard knocks start knocking?
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” 2 Corinthians 4:8–10
“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelation 2:10