Do you ever feel like living the Christian life is just plain hard? I would say that if you have never felt that way, you are not REALLY living out your faith.
The truth is living the Christian life isn’t hard ---it is IMPOSSIBLE! We can’t do it on our own. We have to stop working and striving to do things and let Jesus live the life for us. A verse that sticks out to me when I think about this is Galatians 2:20. It says: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. Not only do I think that this verse tells us to live a life that is surrendered to God’s plan and not our own, I think it tells us to let God take care of everything in our lives. I think it tells us to lean on God during times that are hard.
How do we do that? Everyday you face challenges and you have to react to them. Maybe your friends or family don’t understand your faith. Maybe you are going through a time of loneliness. Maybe you feel like there is so much going on in your life that you can not keep up. Maybe you just feel like the day to day struggles in your life are too much to bear. Let Christ do the living then.
I think the first thing you need to do in order to let Christ do the living is give yourself a relationship check up. Think about your relationship with Christ.
How vital is it? Are you really taking time to spend in His word? Are you communicating with Him about your life regularly? Are you living out the life that the Bible requires of you?
Spending time with God is essential to letting Him live for you. Reading His word (the Bible) is a daily reminder of all He has done for us and the promises
He makes to us. I love the passage in The Message version of the Bible in Lamentations 3 that says, “I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!” DON”T OVER LOOK THE LITTLE WORDS! NEW EVERY MORNING! So, each day you can sit down with God’s Word and find new things that will remind you that God is in control and wants to live the life for you!
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says simply, “Pray continually”. Being in communication with God throughout your day will greatly increase your ability to let Him do the living for you. If you are approaching a difficult time, pray. Sounds simple but it is amazing the way God can change your attitude or give you courage if you just take a moment and ask Him to help. Prayer is vital in the struggle to let go and let God live for you.
Finally, how you live out your life everyday is essential in the battle to let God live for you. In short --- practice what you preach. St. Francis of Assisi may have stated this best when he said, “Preach the gospel everywhere. Use words when necessary”. Put action to what you believe. Stand firm in your commitments. It may not always be easy but step three is made more simple when you have step one (Spending time with God) and Step Two (prayer) down.
-Jasper Rains is our Minister of Discipleship and Administration. He has been a part of the Parkway Family since 2005.
Hard times will come and for many of us, they are here everyday. Still, God says, “Don’t sweat it. Let me take control”. This week I am praying that you would let God do that in your life!