Our service this week had us turn to situations where we may face discouragement? How do we dredge up the strength to persevere when we feel like the life is draining out of us? Discouragement is something we all face at some point during our lives, indeed for some it’s a daily struggle. There are times when it can be an effort to stagger on, especially when we look around us to find others walking tall.
The solution can be found in passion. If we’re sufficiently passionate about something, we have a foundation to hang on to when the going gets rough. Think of cyclists in the Tour de France, or another endurance race. They can’t all win but they soldier on regardless, they don’t lose heart. If they weren’t devoted to their sport they’d pack up halfway up the hill and go home, but because of their genuine passion they see it through, refusing to turn back. Marathon runners are the same, injury or utter exhaustion not withstanding, they’ll see the race through because they’re committed. In the final analysis is it worth it? Absolutely! We can’t all be at the front when the race ends, but all achieve the triumph of being the best you that you can be, we just need commitment.
For Christians our passion is directed towards Jesus for it’s him we strive to honour. Often this can be uncomfortable, our faith rejected by those who mock while others dismiss us with indifference, suspicion or anger. At times like this it can feel easier to walk away from our faith, likewise when we face trials that appear insurmountable, unfathomable. That though is when our true passion for God kicks in and we’re reminded that his path is the best path, opening ourselves again to his guiding and teaching.
It’s no cakewalk being a Christian and it certainly doesn’t promise a life of ease, indeed the opposite can be the truth. What is promised though is a creator God who is for you, unconditionally, and when tough times come there is great comfort in knowing he will restore and strengthen you again.
Some are blind to the notion of God, rejecting him at every turn, this in itself can be discouraging for those who’s hearts are set on him but it’s everyone’s prerogative to make of God what they will, we’re all blessed with free will after all. Jesus himself wasn’t unfamiliar with unbelief, he hung in agony on a cross while mockers taunted him …’you say you are the son of God, fetch yourself down from the cross then’ they crowed. This he didn’t do, instead he asked his father in heaven to forgive them before breathing his last …but he returned three days later to prove to those self same doubters that he could indeed conquer death.
This is our faith, that Jesus conquered death and atoned for our sinfulness. We are forgiven through faith in this Jesus and, as a result, can live peaceful lives without the weight of guilt and shame hanging around our necks. Instead we savour the liberating freedom that forgiveness provides. For you to become the best you that you can be, why not consider giving your heart and soul to God too? He’s your steadfast rock and salvation, the one who can transform your life, but only if you let him.