How's your Christian life? If I ask you this question, what would your response be? A reluctant 'so so' or a grimace on your face? Many might not be so frank about their spiritual life and would usually answer with the expected phrase 'Fine. Praise the Lord!'
But if we are honest, some of us might even say, 'It sucks!'.
'My prayer life sucks. My devotional life sucks. My Christian walk sucks. It isn't any different from my non-Christian friends or relatives. In fact, it's even worst. And the most pathetic thing is that God doesn't seem to care.'
Is that your situation?
If so, do not despair. I too was in that situation.
For over 20 years, life was a daily struggle. I was living a life plagued by fear. Anxiety and panic attacks were my constant companions. The scenario was totally different from what's written in the Bible.
I asked myself where I had gone wrong. I even questioned my salvation and God's existence. Because my life was the total opposite of what a Christian life should be as described in the scriptures. I'm not saying that our lives should not have problems, or that we will not suffer hardship. No, Jesus clearly said that we will have trouble because we are in the world.
The Christian life is a journey; with a starting point and a destination.
We begin our Christian life by believing and receiving Jesus Christ into our hearts by faith. We acknowledged that we are sinners, and that Christ died on the cross to save us from our sins. We believe and asked for forgiveness. We accepted Him into our hearts to be our Lord and Saviour. That's it!
Once we did that we knew without a doubt that we were saved. That Christ had entered into our hearts. Our sins were forgiven and we had entered into a relationship with God and embarked on a journey of faith.
Unlike our salvation, Christian living is not a one time event. It's a journey that might be smooth going or it might be tough and needs much endurance.
For many Christians, life is like a yo-yo. Sometime, they are high in a mountain-top experience enjoying the grand view from above and singing and praising God all day long. But most of the time, they are in the valley struggling to live for Christ.
In fact, for many of us, praying and Bible reading make us sleepy and there are days, weeks and months gone by without us opening the Bible.
Is yours like that? Where are you now? Is your spiritual life at a stand still or are you going through some rough spots? Or is yours a life of daily constant struggle; plagued by stress, pain, anxiety, depression and uncertainty? Can you feel the Presence of God? Is He near or does He seem distant?
Are you just enduring and thinking that your life might continue to be like this till you reach journey's end and get to heaven?
I want you to know that it isn't. God is very near you. In fact, Christ is in you and have never forsaken you. Not even a moment! The peace and joy that He promised is true. It's ours...rightfully ours to claim. It's inside us and available to us instantly.
Prayer is not boring. Bible reading is not a scheduled chore that needs to quickly get over. Thinking of God, living in His Presence and communing with Him can become natural and enjoyable.
The Christian life is a life of faith. It's a life of abiding and resting in Christ and allowing Him to work in and through us.
I found the answer in this one Bible verse which changes my life drastically. This is also the verse that taught me how to forgive.
The receiving and the walking is the same. The same way we received Christ into our hearts as Lord and Saviour, in a similar manner, we live our Christian life.
It's by faith.
Our salvation was an instantaneous thing. Immediately after we prayed that prayer of salvation, we were forgiven and set free. Peace and joy entered into our lives. What had we done? We opened our hearts to Christ and He came in instantly and forgave, cleansed and abide in us.
As we look back, it seems so natural...so easy...so simple.
And we never ever question whether it's real or it works or not.
From that point, we know we are saved and have become a new creation in Christ Jesus.
We did not need to strive, travail or wait for it. Salvation was instant! And all we did was surrender.
So just as we believe that when we asked Him into our hearts, He entered in, the same way, we yield to Him moment by moment and trust Him to work in and through us in all situations under whatever circumstances.
It's not us striving to be a better Christian; trying harder and harder to draw close to God. Praying more, going to church services more, endeavouring to read the Bible from cover to cover within a year. Memorising scriptures so we can quote verses and passages. Trying not to blow our tops at home or at work. Doing all the right things; the 'Christian' things.
We must understand that all the strivings will not bring us closer to God. Christian living is not striving to do good. Christian living is abiding in Christ, resting on the finished works of Christ and yielding our will to Him who do all things well.
Christ abides in us through the Holy Spirit. Let us be aware of His Presence, yield ourself totally to Him and let Him flood our whole beings with rivers of living waters. Let the fruit of the Spirit flourished within us; love, joy, peace, hope and so forth.
The Christian life is not a life of struggles but a yielded life at rest - abiding in Christ, and walking in the Spirit.
The New Living Translation helps us understand this verse better.
Since we are living by the Spirit,
let us follow the Spirit's leading
in every part of our lives.
We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. The Spirit of God is here to lead and guide us. Let's follow His leading and live victoriously in and through Christ our Lord.
Peace is like a sentry guarding our hearts and minds. Anytime, peace is absent, we know something is not right. What to do?
Quickly look inside and yield to Christ. Not my will but Thine, Lord! Let your will be done. And as you yield, feel the rivers of living waters flowing out from your belly. Peace will return. Joy unspeakable starts bubbling within starting from the belly where the rivers flow.
That's what I did and do now when I felt disturbed or anxious, or when I felt that someone done me wrong.
Do I always have to do this? No, after a while, you don't have to do all these to break out of the mode of unrest into the place of peace. You'll began to get so used to peace and joy in your spirit and learn to stay there whenever you felt the shift in your spirit.
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