The Faith Struggle
Are Christians going through challenging times, if they abide in Christ as they should? The Apostle Paul says in Acts 14:22: "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."
What should we do when we go through times when we experience the hardships of following God?
Want to Watch This Sermon on iTunes/Apple TV?Subscribe to our video podcast on iTunes:
The Faith Struggle - Sermon Summary
- 100% surrender to God's will -100% of time
- Challenge may seem too difficult.
- You in situation by God's leading.
Christ's ExampleChrist's experience in Garden of Gethsemane Through life Christ obeyed His Father implicitly
- Allowing Father to manifest Himself through Him.
Jesus never turned away from following:
- Truth of God's Word
- Way the Father led Him.
- Faced the most difficult challenge of following the Father's will.
- Three times prayed the "cup" of suffering be taken
- Each time yielded to Father's will (Matt 26:39-44).
- Could not remove it.
- His divine will for the events to transpire.
- Therefore willingly submitted -though very difficult
- Once victory gained in prayer- His obedience unto death was assured.
- Essential we follow Christ's example.
- As we continue to abide in Christ
- Knowing He will see us through
- He will manifest Himself in and through us all the way to victory.
Why is This Happening?There will be experiences we not understand why
At such times vital we realize
- Christ still resides in us
- He will manifest Himself in and through us during any crisis.
- Asked God to remove them
- God said "No"
- 2Corinthians 12:7-10
- Weak, helpless and vulnerable.
- He stated, "when I am weak, then am I strong;"
At first these difficulties challenged him
- Confusing because he didn't understand.
- Why prayed three times for God to remove them.
- He could say, "most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
- He could actually thank God for these thorns.
- To manifest Christ's character in him.
- Not circumstances we would choose for ourselves.
- God chooses them for us.
- They are His means of discipline.
- Hebrews 12:6-7, 11
- Try our faith;
- Tempted to distrust God -
- Tempted to question His leading and loving care
Elijah's ExampleElijah's experience illustrates faith struggle 1 Kings 19:1-3
- Elijah's great victory on Mount Carmel
- Fleeing from Jezebel's threat
Satan took advantage of Elijah's:
- Physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion.
- Stand before hundreds of pagan priests,
- Call fire down from God in a challenge of who was the true God,
In the process of becoming like Christ:
- We go through times
- Where everything seems to come in on us
- We feel overwhelmed.
- Feelings of being overwhelmed are caused by
- Loosing our hold on God
- Looking to ourselves or the situation.
- We will begin to sink in fear & failure
Peter's ExperienceWalking on water at Christ's word - Matthew 14:23-31
- Began sinking when looked to waves & not Christ.
- Threatening storm and waves put fear in his heart.
- When by Christ's leading we find ourselves in the midst of a terrible storm of life
- And we take our eyes off Christ.
- Importance of following God's laws of health.
- Their neglect lead to weaken our hold on Christ.
- Become overly tired,
- Mentally fatigued
- Spiritually, emotionally and physically weakened.
- This will affect your faith relationship with Christ
- Which could lead to a crisis of faith.
- Job unaware of what happening and why
- Crisis after crisis came upon him;
- Loss of material possessions,
- Loss of family,
- Loss of health.
- Received no understanding or encouragement from wife or friends.
- In bitterness his wife told him to curse God and die.
- Friends kept telling Job these events were judgments from God because of sin in his life.
- Yet, through all this Job kept his faith
- Declared "though slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).
If we learn to rest in Jesus:
- We can have an "Jesus'" abiding peace, a peace that "passeth all understanding" (Phil 4:6-7).
This kind of faith and resting in Christ
- Necessary for all who enter into time of trouble.
- All earthly support removed.
- Many friends and family members turn against them.
- All fear will be gone - have Christ's peace
- "faith of Jesus" will be manifested in their life.
- Trials only serve to further prepare them for Christ's glorious return.
The CausesFaith struggles happen in numerous ways:
- Struggle over issue that is difficult for us to move forward on under God's direction
- Jesus in garden
- Difficult situations may arise in our life and service for the Lord, which we don't understand.
- Paul's throne in flesh
- We may like Paul ask God to remove them, but He doesn't seem to hear our prayer
- Exp. Struggle - been practicing poor health habits and we weakened physically, emotionally and spiritually.
ConclusionThe important thing:
- Be aware these kinds of crisis will come
- Don't let them totally overwhelm you.
- Sometimes all you can do is wait for God to lead you through them.
- He will get you through
- He will also fulfill His promise to work them all out for your good (Romans 8:28).
- God understands the struggles you go through.
- He will never leave you or forsake you at such times.