In life, we face different circumstances that challenge us a disciples and followers of Christ. We know that in order to follow Christ we must have a relationship with Jesus. We must be in the word to hear God’s voice and have fellowship with the Holy Spirit who guides us. Many times we are called into obedience which can be hard in the natural.
During times when our faith is tested, obedience can feel as though we are suffering. We know that in James 4 it says we can rejoice when we have trials because it will produce endurance, longevity, stamina and strength. Just like an athlete has the discipline of saying “no” to sugars or certain foods, we can say no to sin and it builds our spiritual muscle.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Hebrews 12:11)
The Bible says to “…resist the devil and he shall flee from you” (James 4:7). Rejecting temptation and sin can be hard in the moment, but when we lean on God and depend on His spirit to help us and enable us, He will give us a way of escape and we become stronger, which develops our inner character.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7-8)
Notice the word “disciple” is in the word “discipline.” To be a follower of Christ we must be set apart and different from the world. If we are leading them to Christ, we must lead by example. We must press into God and cry out to the Lord in our struggles. God will help us to overcome specific sins or struggles.
God wants us to walk in freedom, but also the walk of faith is not always easy. We will be tried, tested, refined and pruned (John 15) when we walk with God.
There’s an analogy in the Bible where Paul likens the Christian journey of faith to that of a race. He says that everyone, as we can agree, in a marathon or race will run to win. They run to get the gold medal or to achieve a prize. We run in our spiritual race to win the crown of life. We have to strip off the heavy weights, backpacks, burdens and baggage that we carry.
The Lord wants to lift your load and help you to be able to win victoriously. He gives us the tools and the strategies to overcome sin, build our spiritual muscles and grow in our spiritual health so that we can ultimately win more souls into God’s kingdom. It’s about Jesus and He will always be the prize!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Is the faith walk easy? Is discipline and saying no to our flesh easy? No. It is not easy but it is beneficial in the long run because we will be able to get through bigger and harder challenges that life throws at us. God is stretching us and equipping us for his missions and assignments that he has for us.
Do you trust God as you follow Him? Do you seek Jesus first as your heavenly reward even now here on earth? What is your priority or where is your treasure? What is your focus on in this season?
I challenge you to get out a journal and ask Jesus what he wants you to prune or cut out of your spiritual diet, and ask him what he wants you to have more or less of. I challenge you to spend more alone and quiet time with God so that He can speak to you. I encourage you to obey His voice, even if it is hard in the moment because it is worth it in the end.
God is always full of surprises and is a good Father. He wants the best for His children and His beloved. You are God’s precious daughter and He loves you. I encourage you to continue to follow him in reading your Bible, praying and meeting in fellowship. I encourage you to continue to serve and to share the Gospel (the good news, John 3) with others.
May you be inspired and uplifted and also challenged to run the good race and to fight the good fight of faith. God bless you. Jesus loves you!