When Faith Gets Hard
When we truly experience God’s Grace and the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see Jesus’ finished work on the cross on our behalf, life is never the same. The lifelong adventure of following our Savior begins. We are excited, joyful, and maybe even a bit over-eager as new believers to share with everyone what God is up to.
Life Takes Over
However, somewhere along the way that energy begins to slowly bleed out. Life takes over and if we’re not careful, our First Love becomes routine. Good things like meeting with other believers and studying the Bible morph into a list of obligations rather than life-energizing opportunities. And all of a sudden following Jesus is just hard.
How can we regain the energy that formerly came from a thriving understanding of our faith?
According to the Bible, one way to reinvigorate our faith is to consider the faith of others. Read about the heroes in the Bible (see 1 Corinthians 11:1). Read biographies of those who have gone before us (see Hebrews 13:17). Do not forget to identify godly women in your own circles who have an admirable faith. Paul says in Philippians 3:17,
“(Sisters), join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”
In college, I struggled to reconcile my understanding of the Christian faith with my rebellious lifestyle. I would defend Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6), but my foolish choices birthed debilitating frustrations that ended up making me miserable. My life was a reflection of the discouragement that had overtaken me due to a lack of understanding about how amazing God truly is.
One day I met two girls and it was obvious they were both in love with Christ. While I have no delusions that their faith was perfect, I saw these joyful girls who loved life, sought adventure, and worshiped Christ through it all. At first, I watched them from a distance. I heard stories of things that you truly can only get away with in college - deciding one night to go downtown in pajamas to see what kind of reaction they got from passersby, buying beer-drinking hats to fill up with soft drinks, again for the sake of funny looks, and other crazy stunts. They did the things I only wish I was brave enough to do.
From these girls, I also saw glimpses of a faith that I previously thought I possessed, claimed to have, and wanted for myself so desperately. I heard stories about meeting people of other faiths, befriending and sharing the Gospel, and fostering relationships with them. I heard about random stories of God’s miraculous hand at work around them. I saw how they loved people with a love that did not make sense.
A Grand Adventure
Through their example, I learned so much about the character of God. I learned that He is not a stodgy, vapid Being. I discovered through fresh eyes that He is active in the lives of His people. He truly transforms hearts to beat for Him. He continues to take us on a grand adventure, whether or not we notice. And when we passionately pursue Him, our faith flourishes and others take note.
These two women very quickly became good friends of mine. Although I never quite grew the....um... ovaries to join in their college antics, my joy in Christ grew exponentially.
This, I believe, is one of the many reasons we are wired to live in Biblical community, especially with other faith-filled women. Sometimes, we all need a helping hand, and honestly sometimes we need to be pulled along.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever shared with these two college friends the extent to which they unknowingly pulled me closer to Christ. Of course, I still struggle with seeing the excitement of living for Christ. I see my Bible gathering dust on my table and the inner-debate begins, much the same way I struggle to do the dishes. However, it is my deepest desire to remain in mutually-encouraging community with other women who will, if necessary, drag me forward in my walk with Christ with their words and experiences. This blog is the result of that desire.
How are you being pulled closer to Christ? Who in your life has been an encouragement in your walk?
See you in the Round!
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."