Persevering in the Christian Life

Persevering in the Christian Life

It all sounds so easy. Come to Jesus, and all will be fine. God does it all; you are saved by grace; it is all about what God does and not what you do. Just trust Jesus, and you’re in! And it’s true. It is wonderful news. The only way to be saved and get to God is to trust in Jesus. All true.

Does that mean that when we do trust in Jesus, life goes on as before with maybe a church service a week and some Bible reading thrown in? A normal life with some fire insurance added to it? Well, no. Life will be forever different when you trust in Jesus. It will change your thinking, your perspective, what you want, what you say, who you associate with, and how you spend your money. Many of these things will actually be more difficult than they were in your previous life.

Jesus calls for those who trust him to enter a narrow gate onto the difficult road that is living the Christian life (Matt 7:13-14). Following Jesus will be difficult for a number of reasons. One is that this kind of life is unpopular, so others will not understand it or will mock it. Another is that our sinful nature wants to live selfishly instead of to serve the true King. Things that once seemed fun and easy are now more complex; we will be fighting sin instead of constantly giving in to whatever we desire.

How might we be motivated for the Christian life on the narrow, difficult, unpopular road? There will be days when the life of those who are not believers looks so much better and easier. They seem to be going OK. Why do we keep struggling with the harder option? Let me give you some reasons to keep at it:

  1. Jesus, who lay down his life for you, has kindly shown you how to live. Jesus is our Saviour and our Lord, God himself, the one who has the right to tell us how to live. The other options might look attractive, but they are not the way we were designed to live. If we want to live a contented life, a life worth living, follow Jesus.
  2. God promises us that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. Those who enter the narrow gate will make it to the end. This is not because we put in enough effort, but because the Spirit helps us as we strive forward. You are not alone in the Christian life. When it seems too hard, ask for help. Pray.
  3. Your progress in the Christian life is a great example and encouragement to others. Very few things encourage me more than to see Christians grow into maturity in their faith. Making good decisions with your life even when it is difficult is not just something that builds your faith, but it encourages others who are struggling and facing similar issues.
  4. Consider your destination: life with God forever. You can persevere through a great deal if you are sure that the end result will be positive. That wide road only leads to destruction, while the narrow road leads to life. Psalm 73 is a great place to see this in the Old Testament; what looks so good to us only leads to destruction. Don’t fall for it.

Don’t be discouraged when the Christian life seems harder than you expected. It will be difficult. You are not alone, being helped by your church family and by the Holy Spirit. You are only living this way by grace and will only continue by grace. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and loves to give you good things when you ask. Keep on going. Living for Jesus is a fulfilling life despite the difficulties; truly a life worth living.