Ok, we are going to ride the struggle bus together here, people. Life is a struggle and we all have our own unique struggles that we will face. Some struggles we laugh at while others hurt so deeply. What is it that you are struggling with today? Right there—that pain point, that thing you just thought of that seems insurmountable, God is bigger. And He is able to help us overcome!
It might be hard to believe that right now because let’s face it, we have all been bested by our struggles, perhaps for a long time. We might not want to dare to hope again in something that just seems impossible.
We have been exploring the freedom we have in Christ here in July (seemed fitting) and today I wanted to give ten principles to help you be free from whatever struggle you are facing.
1. Recognizing the freedom we already have is critical. But then knowledge without application will get us nowhere. Freedom is a fight. Don’t be afraid to fight and don’t you dare give in. We become disillusioned and discouraged when we are surprised by the struggle. But Christ promised us that we would have troubles in this world . . . and He overcame the world. And Job told us that all of life is a struggle (Job 7:1b “Is not all human life a struggle?”) Speaking of struggle . . .
2. Struggle is not a bad word. It means you are still pressing on. As long as you don’t give up, you have not lost. Paul showed us how: Philippians 3:12 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Christ already obtained our righteousness. He already won and fights our battles. We just have to press on.
3. Knowing our struggle and being honest with about it rather than rationalizing it away will shorten the length of our struggle. We are often afraid to admit our weaknesses but the truth is, we are weak. The only strength we have is Christ alone! Paul boasted in His weaknesses and discovered a strength from doing so: 2 Corinthians 12:9 “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
4. Don’t let Your Struggle Surprise You. I think shame can keep us bound in our struggles, too. Peter reminds us of this in 1 Peter 4:12 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.”
5. Facing the struggle with Christ is imperative. Seems obvious, right? Admitting our struggle is good, but we usually end up complaining or whining about it, having a pity party even, rather than confronting the struggle. We have to face our struggle. Dead on. Philippians 4:13 reminds us how to face it – through Christ: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Cry out to God in prayer.
6. Face the struggle with the word of God. Find Scriptures that speak to the specific area you are targeting. This is a battle. Don’t believe the lies that it is too hard for you. Believe what God’s word says about it.
7. Make no provision for your struggle. This is obvious, but our hearts are deceitful. Romans 13:14 says, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” My struggle with being disciplined in eating healthy is shot if I have junk food in the house.
8. Walk in the Spirit. It is easy to cave to the flesh but we can choose to walk in the Spirit. The more we feed the Spirit, the weaker the flesh gets. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
9. The multiplicity of counselors assures us of victory! It takes a village sometimes, people. It might be embarrassing and humbling to admit our need, but doing so can finally help us overcome. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed”.
10. Walk in it. Own the victory that is already yours. Don’t doubt it. Believe God’s promises and ask Him to increase your faith when you begin to look at the waves. The more we saturate our mind in God’s word, the freer we will become. Psalm 119:45 “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.”
Struggle is not a bad word . . . and victory might just be around the next corner!