When pain and suffering strike, our faith is well founded if it is standing on the promise of God. For all of God’s promises have strong confirmation in Christ.– John Calvin
One of the things God is pressing upon me is the daily choice to love. True, enduring love is not so much shown in the big emotional moments or the monumental occasions, but it is in the little daily gestures and choices. I think those daily choices are the hardest areas to be faithful in. Often times I have gone through seasons where I feel weary of the daily battle to follow Christ, worn and tired of the constant fight against my sin, and sick of always trying to stay alert, always trying to be disciplined.
Jesus Fought Our Battles, too
In those times, I try to stop and meditate on the fact that Jesus fought this daily battle too. Part of His sacrificial love, was His choice to take on sinful flesh. “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus felt the same things I do, and every day for 30 years, He battled sin and temptation. He felt lazy at times, He battled gluttony at times. Hebrews says He was tempted in every way (4:15). just as we are. He battled fear of man, He had those feelings of anxiety for the future, He felt the temptation towards impatience with the slow of heart, or sinful anger towards those who hurt Him. But, He overcame. In the face of every temptation and every weakness, He was victorious. Day after wearisome day, Jesus battled the same temptations I do, and He put the flesh to death moment by wearisome moment, and that is what He wants to do in me.
Do not loose focus
I believe that part of the reason our daily Christian battle is so hard, is because sometimes we lose sight of the One who is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46:1), the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1). Our daily battles and choices need to flow out of a living, loving relationship with God and a deep rooted understanding of God’s love for us. It’s ironic though, because we all know that we need to live out of God’s love, but often we don’t know HOW to live out of God’s love.
I think one of the main things it comes down to is fostering relationship. One of the hardest areas for me in this Christian walk of obedience is daily Bible reading and prayer. Even though my heart yearns to know the Lord more, even though I want to know God’s way more clearly, somehow it is so hard to actually sit down with my Bible for longer than fifteen minutes.
Connect with God daily
But just like any relationship, you can be with someone all the time, ten minutes here and there in the midst of busy life, but never really connect. April and Kayla and I found this out living together. Even though we saw each other all the time, there were times we felt such a distance between us.
Connecting takes time. I have never scheduled a 15 minute coffee with a friend, because I know that it takes longer than that to get past the regular daily things and to the heart issues where we can deeply connect. It’s like that with God too. Ten minutes here and there isn’t enough. Ten minutes in prayer gives us only enough time to spew our surface frustrations and questions… but it is not enough time to get to our heart issues, to really open up to the Lord about what is going on underneath the daily feelings and activities. Ten minutes in God’s word is not enough time to really hear from the Lord. For me, it takes about that long to simply quiet my heart to listen.
Personal relationship with God takes effort
So without time – real time – to connect with God, there is a distance in our relationship that slowly grows. It’s like two good friends, or a husband and wife, who never make time to actually sit down together and connect. Daily life carries on, bringing stresses and struggles, and they are just too busy to sit down together. Even though they talk every day, the silence between them lengthens. The distance grows. They start to get frustrated with each other because of little irritations and stresses in their daily life, and they begin to perceive things as mean and hurtful, when really it is just misunderstanding the other person.
I think this distance is one of Satan’s most powerful weapons. He knows that our souls will starve for love without that time for God to speak His love for us. Satan and his demons know how to pile on the guilt, and the longer our Bibles stay closed, or the longer we jam devotionals into little gaps without spending real time, the more Satan heaps up our feelings of shame and guilt. He whispers in our ear that God is disappointed in us, so deeply disappointed in us, when the truth of it is that God is simply beckoning us to come, yearning to pull us close and reassure us of His love.
Jesus is calling us daily
I think Jesus’ cry for Jerusalem is often His cry for us as well. Jesus says “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke13:34). Being willing for Christ to draw us is not something that just happens. We must choose to be willing and train ourselves to draw near. Our flesh will battle us at every turn, but the more we allow Christ to draw us into His word, the more we make time to foster our relationship with our Lord, the more His grace will become our daily refuge and joy, the more His peace will quiet our hearts, and the more His love will fill and overflow from our lives.
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV.
- What is your reflection on Jesus facing the same temptations we do?
- How often do you loose focus on Christ in your daily tasks?
- Why do you think we have to connect with Go daily?
- How do you cultivate your personal relationships? (with God and others)?
- What is your response to Jesus’ calling? Accept Jesus Now.
Heavenly Father, we give glory to your holy name. We ask that you direct us daily in our walk with your Son, Jesus Christ, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let us not loose sight of following your examples in our lives. May we walk continuously with you and never fall astray. O Lord, teach us how to follow the Father as you did. Grant us your Holy Spirit to fight of temptations of every day. We pray all these in Jesus’ mighty and Holy name. Amen.
A Devotional Written by: Jackie Lieuwen