Our lives are filled with discouraging situations. All you have to do is watch 15 minutes of the news! There are also those life challenges, unseen difficulties, and unexpected disappointments that can bring us down. It has often been said, these situations in our lives force us to choose one of two life paths: bitterness, resentment or self-pity on the one hand or forgiveness, freedom and personal growth on the other. The Bible has much to say about “Overcoming” life’s challenges. Let’s take a look at one.
I have been strongly encouraging those that are known by Jesus to invest in memorizing the Bible. Several years ago I took this step and I continue to be amazed at how it has impacted my life on a weekly basis, if not daily. One of the benefits derived has been allowing me to glean greater insights from the passages that I have been reviewing over time. I want to talk about a portion of one passage that relates to the above.
I have been blessed many times reviewing Romans 8. Yesterday, I was struck by an insight that might seem obvious to some. It is that we need to take the initiative in embracing life’s challenges. What I am saying is that we cannot afford to be passive in these situations. It will destroy us. I was reminded of an event from many years ago when a couple of my teen kids got a flat with our 15 passenger van. They thought that something did not seem right but they just kept on going. Needless to say, the rear passenger tire was flat and by time they stopped is was destroyed. The same happens in our lives when we let those life situations go unchecked.
I want to point your attention to Paul’s insight on overcoming the challenges of being a faithful follower of Jesus. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) I need you to think about what he is teaching us about living out our faith. He is reminding us that we become overwhelmed when our expectations are shaped by non-Biblical sources. You would think that everyone in media and on social media lives a perfect life, with a perfect spouse, with perfect kids, with a perfect job, and in a perfect house. Yet, all of us know of situations where that is just not true. Media, especially social media, is not Reality! Most, if not all of media, is crafted to portray an image. Paul reminds us to look at our situation in God’s mirror. The reality is, it is far from perfect. You are not alone, this is the reality of living in a fallen world.
There are many helps in our Bible that help us to find strength, courage and hope to press on during those difficult times. The one Paul reminds us of here is to focus on what God has promised to you, his follower. It is only when you begin looking at your life from God’s perspective that you begin to overcome your discouragements. All you have to do to refresh yourself on some of those promises is go back to Romans 8:1 and start reading. Paul begins the chapter with “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) The rests of the chapters is filled with plenty of our realities that push us over the discouragement of life!
-Pastor Joe Parkinson