I’m not gonna lie, sometimes the struggle to live a godly life is more than just a struggle. It can become a long-term fight that seems to beat and bruise me over and over again. I fail to hit the mark and fall far too often. At times, I wonder why I have chosen such a difficult path.
I used to hunt a lot. Every hunt started with a walk from the truck into the woods to where I hoped my trophy would be. Sometimes it was a long walk. It may not have been as hard as it was boring.
I’ve asked my wife many times to do the “I Dream Of Jeannie” nod with her arms crossed and blink me to where I need to be. I get impatient with the whole idea of getting there. It never works. There isn’t a magic blink in my future to get me where I am going without having to actually go there.
Now and then on my hunts, I would decide to leave the path and take an inviting short-cut. That rarely worked out to my satisfaction. It would always start out nice and easy. I’d think, “Wow! Why haven’t I always gone this way?” That was usually followed by getting all turned around and hung up in a briar patch the size of Texas or a ravine that only a mountain goat can navigate. By the time I made it back to the path that had gotten me to where I need to be over and over again, I was exhausted and sweaty and about ready to just forget the whole idea of hunting and go home.
Yeah, living a godly and righteous life is hard and sometimes it may even seem like a bad idea. I’ve tried shortcuts. They are always a worse idea. Skipping a bunch of commands that God gives and expecting the same results as if I stayed on course does not work. I need to renew my resolve over and over again and be sure that I am on course and on the path. It may seem to have some tough obstacles but in the long run I am avoiding even bigger problems. Those problems may be so big that my only choice will be to retrace some pretty tough traveling conditions just to get back to where I veered off God’s plan.
I’ve also tried just giving up and going nowhere at all. Surely, I am less prone to getting exhausted and beaten down if I sit and do nothing. Giving up is even more tiresome and filled with heartache than moving. I have known a lot of people that have given up through the years. I’ve never known a single one of them that is as happy as they were when they were struggling to move into God’s plan for their lives. Life is a struggle, life is a fight, life gets hard, life is unpredictable and often cruel whether we serve God or not.
But if I give up, my struggle is for nothing. If I give up, I don’t give up the fight. I only give up the rewards.
Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Giving up will not make my life easier. I’ve tried it. In fact, life can be so much harder and void of hope that thoughts of not living at all can creep in. If I push ahead through my struggle doing what is good, there is hope ahead. Not giving up will result in something supernatural. No, I have never been rewarded with being able to shoot lightning bolts from my fingers (even though that would be pretty cool) but I have come out the other end of a tough time a changed man that knows God’s power in adversity and hope when I was accustomed to being hopeless. I can’t manufacture those things if I take the power of a thousand men but God does it for me daily.
2 Chronicles 15:7 But as for you, be strong and courageous, for your work will be rewarded.
God isn’t my ticket to an easy, luxurious life here on this earth. Life doesn’t change from a tough daily grind into “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. But it does turn from futility into hope. It turns from loss into reward. It transforms a curse into a blessing. The struggle is always there but it has purpose.
Mark 10:27 Jesus looked at them intently and said,“Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”
Sometimes the struggle seems a lot harder than some of the people I see every day that have chosen to give up. I have to keep in mind that I am doing the impossible. Sometimes the impossible feels like a pretty tough thing to do.
Everyone is struggling. My struggle has purpose and I have help from the one that can do all the impossible things.