Friday, March 9, 2012

Who Said It Would Be Easy?

I am coming to the conclusion that a lot of discouragement could be avoided if I changed my expectations.  Not lowered them.  Not raised them.  Just changed them to be in line with truth and not buying into subtle lies.  I was reading in 1 Timothy 6 the other day and was struck by these words...

But as for you,  man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..."  1 Timothy 6:11-12a

Note the words that the Apostle Paul used... flee, pursue, endurance, fight, take hold...  None of those are passive words!  Each one demands action and energy!  So why do I seem to live with the expectation that if I am living in accordance with God's will that life should be easy, blissful, without struggle?  This is not biblical!  I don't know how it happened.  I know this with my head but somehow I lost track of this truth in my emotions...

Why are we told to flee unless there are going to be things that try to take hold of us?  Why pursue if godly traits were going to characterize us without effort?  Who needs endurance unless they feel the urge to give up?  Why about fight or take hold?  Friends, we are told that each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34). We're told that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood - but we do wrestle (Ephesians 6:12)!  We are told to press on toward the goal, straining towards what lies ahead (Philippians 3:12-14).  That assures us that we are going to experience resistance pushing against us!  Expect it!  Be alert for it and don't be discouraged!  We are told to "take heart" Christ has overcome the world (John 16:33)!

Father, thank You for showing me that I was discouraged because I was listening to lies.  I fell into the trap of believing that You were somehow letting me down and that I was failing because walking on the narrow way was difficult.  Father, when I think that way, my eyes tend to fall from You and put all of the pressure on me.  When I try to live this Christian life apart from You, I do fail, but when I trust You with all of my heart and not lean on my own understanding, You bring me through victoriously!  And Father, please help me to remember in all of this, to not listen to lies on the other extreme.  You really do have good plans for me.  Plans to prosper me, not to harm me.  Plans to give me a hope and a future.  Thank You that I can always take You at Your word.

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