Devotional Reading—Being a Christian Is Tough!!!
Historically, the United States Marine Corps has a catchphrase, The Few, The Proud, Always Faithful. The Corps has always boasted that only those who achieve excellence [which requires going beyond human strength] become Marines.
As an outsider looking in, I am challenging their proclamation that becoming a Marine is the highest victory that one can achieve in life. Yes, they withstood the grueling environments, but once they have completed their enlistment or retirement from the Corps, they can live according to their dictates.
The Toughest Thing in Life: Christianity Requires Human Effort Plus Divine Intervention to Succeed Because Our Spiritual Journey lasts a Lifetime. Once we become soldiers in the Army of God, we are always soldiers [if we remain faithful].
Accepting Jesus as our personal Savior with earnest conviction is Conversion. And then the grueling journey begins! Endurance and perseverance through the hard times of suffering that may last for months or years is the spiritual process of Sanctification—which takes a lifetime.
Jesus forewarned what would happen when we decided to become a soldier in God’s Army: “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] –John 16:33, Amplified Bible.
Military soldiers complete their enlistment unless they receive an early honorable [based on medical diagnoses] or a dishonorable discharge. AWOL–Not completing one’s enlistment time is a criminal act.
Becoming a Christian does not mean one will stay a Christian. The Apostle Paul tells us there will be a great apostasy–falling away from God before Jesus comes.
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled …Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…(2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
The continuous cycle of unexpected harsh trials or chasing carnal desires makes us fall away. We do not understand that our characters are being changed for a perfect and holy life with a Holy God in heaven. And suffering is the way that we can become righteous. Those who fail to endure trials and tribulations will not receive their heavenly reward of eternal life.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. –Revelation 21:8
Yet the Apostle John says there is another group of Christians who made it first on the long list of sinners–the cowards—those who are fearful will also miss out on eternal life. Those who deny Christ, as evidenced by their cowardly actions–take the side of the opposers by verbal agreement or remain silent when controversial subjects such as pro-choice arise. Cowardly Christians do not stand for the truth around their friends because they fear rejection.
An example of falling away: Living a double life by attending church weekly but sinning on demand because you love pleasure. God will not interfere in our decision not to serve Him.
Some situations call for immediate spiritual intervention. Christians who become overwhelmed with their trials and those who are confused about the biblical truth because they do not understand the role of the Holy Spirit are the first to fall away from God. Praying for yourself must be done first, but additional spiritual counseling from a pastor or a fellow believer who is a steadfast prayer warrior is required.
When fear overpowers our minds, it indicates a loss of faith in God. Christians who fear persecution from unbelievers, rejection from family members and friends, do not believe angels keep us safe by fighting spiritual warfare, are afraid of spontaneous demon possession, and fear the Second Coming of Jesus are just a few examples of cowardice.
Because fear is based on our mental perception, not even therapeutic counseling can eliminate our fear. Sadly, fearful Christians are at the highest risk for apostasy. Only faith can erase fear!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” –2 Timothy 1:7.
The Apostle Paul mentored young Timothy as Pastor of the Early Church. When Paul was imprisoned, Timothy was afraid that he would also have to endure persecution. Paul’s spiritual reminder to Timothy was a loving but stern rebuke reminding him of our spiritual gifts and responsibilities to Christ.
God does not expect us to do the impossible. He never created us to bear our earthly burdens without Jesus’ Divine Intervention. When we are at our limits, trapped by out-of-control emotions, and ready to give up, pray, Jesus, I cannot stay on this journey without Your help.
Something happens when we call on the name of Jesus for help—the Holy Spirit arrives immediately, and extra angels are sent from heaven to fight the spiritual warfare we are going through. Study Daniel chapter 9.
When you are ready to throw your Christianity–relationship with Jesus away, go to a quiet place to be alone and take a bottle of water with you. Drink the water. And then pray and cry out to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. His promise, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:8). Close your eyes and believe that your prayer has been sent faster than the speed of light to Jesus, Our Heavenly Intercessor.
If you quietly wait, you will feel the rush of a Mighty Wind–the Holy Spirit imparting spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical strength to your mind and body. And then make certain that you pray a prayer of gratitude.
To my brothers and sisters, I am not writing a fictional story or referencing biblical history. This is my testimony of a meltdown experience today. I felt that the vicissitudes in my life were too overwhelming. And I reacted first instead of praying immediately. Still, through my tears, I began to ask Jesus for His help. The power of God brought spiritual strength to my mind and body. I started singing, grabbed my laptop, and started writing these words of encouragement.
We do not have to be ashamed of our weaknesses. Yet, we must present ourselves to Jesus through prayer.
Yes, the struggle is real, but Victory through Jesus is guaranteed! We have come too far to give up. Praying several times a day during peaceful times enables us to develop a lifestyle of prayer and reliance on God. Even when the overwhelming trials come, our first response will be to pray. Jesus never fails!
Bible Study: John chapter 17
Prayer: God, we thank You for your Love and Divine Intervention. We bring our burdens to You in faith. We know that You will take them and will deliver us. We pray for the patience to wait on Your timing. Anoint us with the power of the Holy Spirit so we can view life through spiritual eyes. For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory. In Jesus’ name, we have victory. Hallelujah! Amen!