It’s far from easy.
It’s stinking hard.
It’s a hard and holy thing to die to self.
And you aren’t the only one struggling with it.
For many, who walk with Jesus, it’s a slow thing as we learn little by little, year after year, to die to things that don’t really matter and hold on to what does.
For most, it’s not the big, dramatic moments that yield the opportunities for growth in our Lord; but the grind of frustration-filled, problem-laden, disappointed-in-others and (if we are honest) disappointed-in-ourselves moments of daily life.
And little challenges us to die to self and sin like marriage and parenting.
Oh, how God knows what He is doing!
How He refines His children as He stretches us to learn how to love others more than ourselves and discover joy and peace can truly be found there.
Most, if truthful, will tell you, there have been moments, especially in marriage, where we have wanted to walk away.
We’ve heard the enemy whispering his lies that everyone else has it better and easier, and happiness can be found somewhere else.
We often strive for satisfaction and consume ourselves with work; while also working hard to put on a pretty front, while life sometimes feels incredibly ugly and empty.
Even for Christians.
Alone in our thoughts, we can all feel like failures as parents and spouses and as Christians.
IF we are alone in our thoughts….
But once we bring those thoughts to the light of Christian community in places like church, and ESPECIALLY places where we can share our struggles with other believers (like small groups and Bible studies), we find truth and we find hope.
We are reminded we aren’t the only ones who struggle, but we are also encouraged as we learn how to walk in truth and are better equipped to combat the lies of the enemy who preys on lone rangers.
We will find, as we make time to meet with other believers, our focus will become less on ourselves. (Note, when it’s one on one, this should be men with men and women with women or you may be inviting more trouble!)
When we are in Christian community, we realize our struggles aren’t unique or hopeless; and we are refreshed and equipped to love others better.
Oh yes, God helps us learn from each other. He encourages us through others who are seeking Him too.
And God teaches us die to ourselves when we deliberately spend time with others who are learning to do the same.
It’s January, many Bible studies and small groups are kicking off for the New Year…Join one! You need them and they need you!
And if are going to one, why not (right now) invite a friend to go with you?
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:16-18)