Some days just don’t go well.
Do you have days when it seems like you’re not getting anywhere in becoming a better Christian? Days when you feel like a failure? When you’ve blown it and you know it? I know I do.
Being a Christian is not for wimps.
If you’re serious about living for God and want to experience real spiritual growth, if you want to see evidence in your life that you are becoming more like Jesus Christ, you’re on a hard road. Some preachers and/or soul winners, in their enthusiasm to win souls, have said or implied something like: “come to Jesus and your troubles will be over.”
That’s not really true. Jesus predicted persecution for believers. Paul warned in his epistle to Timothy: “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” ( 2 Timothy 3:12). We’re still in enemy territory here on this earth. You can expect oppostion from without. And you can expect opposition from within.
God knows about all this.
Let’s focus on opposition from within because that’s trickier than oppostion from without. God has a brilliant plan of salvation that answers all our needs.
For example, He knew we would have a battle with sin. He knew we would not be born again and never sin again, of course. So in 1 John 1:9 we read: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NASB)
Also, God knew that we were not going to be able to perfect ourselves by our own efforts, not even with psychology’s clever self-help strategies, because they wouldn’t make us holy, truly good. So He put Jesus Christ within via His Holy Spirit us like an all-powerful divine seed that will grow, so that eventually we will all be like Jesus. That’s why the Scripture can say with certainly that someday He will set us before Himself, His prefect bride…
That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Ephe. 5:27, NASB).
Because, guess what?
Jesus within you will not fail to bring you to spiritual maturity. Because God wants us the way He wants us, and that is like Jesus Christ (Ephe. 4:13). And when God wants something, sooner or later, He’s going to have it. After all, He is God.
So be encouraged.
Don ‘t give up the struggle. Keep trusting God that “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6, NASB). “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12b-13, NASB).
How do you do that?
How do you work out your salvation?
- By living by faith daily, actively trusting God to bring about the growth we all desire (Gal. 2:20; Hebrews 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:7).
- By walking with God (Ge. 5:24; Heb. 11:5) , praying constantly (Ephe. 6:18; 1 Thess 5:17), abiding in the Lord Jesus, reminding yourself all the time that He is your source of strength (John 15:5).
- And by doing all the other things you know God wants you to do–only being careful to do them all in faith, not trying to “produce” your growth, but knowing all the while that it is God’s power that gets the job done.
So remember, deal with today’s challenges, firm in your hope that God is at work in you and that He will not fail to make you totally pleasing in His sight…
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Jude 1:24, NASB).
What do you do to cooperate with God in becoming more like Jesus Christ?