No matter who we are or where we are in life, it’s never easy to follow Christ. In fact He tells us that more than once in the Gospels. However, just because the road might be long and rough it doesn’t mean that we should give up on the journey. This is why it’s important to remember certain things that we can gather strength from to continue on. Things that will fill our hearts and souls with what we need to continue to be faithful to God in our lives.
Remember – God promises that through faith in His Son, Jesus, we already have eternal life: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11) This assurance sharpens our faith, lifts us up when we are downhearted, and gives us courage in times of doubt. Recalling God’s promises destroys doubt.
Where will we find the mercy we need to continue on? It is found in Jesus, who, from His own cross said to a dying criminal who turned to Him for help, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) We are saved by God’s mercy, not by our merit.
Remember – Our all powerful God desires to hear our prayers and answer our pleas. And though we do not always understand His timing or His purposes, God always responds with His best for our lives. Through prayer, we draw upon the power of the infinite God.
Remember – The clock is ticking. Now is the time to seek God’s power to help us become the people He wants us to be. Finding hope in our eternal God gives meaning for our lives today. The time to live for Jesus is now.
Sometimes we don’t really understand the reasons behind God’s commands and that can make things more difficult for us on our journey. We may even sometimes think He is a “cosmic killjoy”, setting up rules and regulations to keep us from enjoying life and ourselves. But God only asks us to obey Him because He has our best interests at heart. Just like any parent with their own children. As we obey, we “remain in His love” and are filled with joy. (John 15:10-11)
So when God warns us not to sin, He does it for our own good. He really wants to protect us from “playing with fire” and getting burned.
God gives us loving warnings in His Word to protect us.
Remember – The Bible tells us that “the words of the reckless pierce like swords,” and that “a harsh word stirs up anger” but “a gentle answer turns away wrath” (Prov. 12:18; 15:1)
Before Jesus’ crucifixion, the religious authorities tried to provoke Him with their words (Matt. 27:41-43). Yet, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate…Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23)
Jesus’ example and the Spirit’s help offer us a way to respond to people who offend us. Trusting the Lord, we don’t really have any reason to use our words as weapons.
A soft answer has often been the means of breaking a hard heart.
Remember – God’s masterpiece of redemption is the symphony we are playing in our lives, and ultimately everything will work together for His good purposes. God is the composer of all of our lives. His song is perfection, and we can Trust in Him to do the right thing and make the right moves in our lives.
Faith in God’s goodness puts a song in our hearts.
Remember – Faith and hope are essential to all believers. It is only because we are justified by faith that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1) And hope is described in Hebrews 6:19 as “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” .
Eventually, one day, we will have no more need of our faith and hope. Faith will become sight and our hope will finally be realized when we see our Savior face to face. But love is eternal, for love is of God and God is love (1 John 4:7-8). “Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” –it’s first and last (1 Cor. 13:13).
We love because God first loved us.
Just as our bodies need check ups from our doctor, so too must we have spiritual check ups to check on our spiritual health. Consider these questions posed by Jesus in Mark:
- Do I love God with all my heart because He first loved me? Which is stronger, my desire for earthly gain or the treasures that are mine in Christ? (Col. 3:1). He desires that His peace rule our hearts.
- Do I love God with all my soul? Do I listen to God telling me who I am? Am I moving away from self-centered desires? Am I becoming more compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient?
- Do I love God with all my mind? Do I focus on my relationship with His Son or do I let my mind wander wherever it wants to go? Do my thoughts lead to problems or solutions? To unity or division? Forgiveness or revenge?
- Do I love God with all my strength? Am I willing to be seen as weak so that God can show His strength on my behalf? Am I relying on His grace to be strong in His Spirit?
When we let the message of Christ dwell within us, He will equip us to build each other up as we become spiritually fit and more useful to Him.
To be spiritually fit, feed on God’s Word and exercise your faith.
Remember – God has promised us all that He will always be present with those who believe in His Son, Jesus. No matter how dark the night, the unseen God is always ready to respond appropriately to our needs.
God is always present and at work in our lives.
As we look at our own problems, let us not despair. May we always have hope through the certainty of our faith in the One Man – Jesus, our God and Savior.
The hope of Jesus shines brightly even on our darkest days.
Remember – That all material wealth is just temporary. Nothing, nothing lasts forever – except for what God enables us to do for others in this life. Giving of our time and resources to help spread the Good News of the Gospel, visiting those who are lonely, and helping those in need are just a few of the many ways that we can store up our treasures in heaven.
Our real wealth is what we invest for our eternal life.
“All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of His covenant” (Ps. 25:10). Some of God’s paths for each of us may be rough and rugged, others may be tedious and even boring, but all are filled with His love and His faithfulness for us. When we come to the end of our journey and know what we then will know, we will say, “God’s path was best for me.”
Our paths may have obstacles, but God will lead us.
Remember – When we pray, we need patience because we have to wait on God. We may not know how or when He will answer, but we can put our hearts and petitions before Him. Sometimes the answers don’t come when we hope they would. In fact things might even go from bad to worse. However, we have to believe, we have to persevere, and we have to keep asking.
Sure, waiting is never an easy thing to do, but the end result of that waiting, no matter what it is, will be well worth it. David put it this way: “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You”. So keep on trusting. Keep asking and most of all keep praying.
Time spent in prayer is always time well spent.
Remember – When our loving God looks at us, He is far more interested in what lies within our hearts than our height, weight, hair color, and so on. He is more interested in the state of our souls than He is the structure of our faces or the color of our eyes. He doesn’t see us as being too old, too young, too small, or too big. He zeroes in on the things that really matter, and that’s our response to His love for us and our concern for other people in this world. 2 Chronicles 6:30 says that God alone knows the human heart. When the God who has done so much for us looks at our hearts, what does He see?
The true measure of a person is what’s in their heart.
Remember – God does not need our praise, it is we who need to praise God. By basking in His presence we can drink in the joy of His infinite love and we can rejoice in the One who came to redeem and restore all of us. “In Your presence there is fullness of joy.” the psalmist says. “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).
Worship is a heart overflowing with praise to God.
Remember – God knows exactly what we are facing each and every day. Isaiah reminds us that God’s knowledge of us is so intimate that it is as if our names were written on the palms of His hands. We might sometimes neglect the needs of others, even those who are closest to us, but God is aware of every detail of our lives. And He has given us His Spirit to guide us, to comfort us and to strengthen us.
Stop and think of all the challenges you might be facing at this very moment in your life, and then write them down and then write the following words beside these challenges as a reminder of His faithfulness, love and care He has for you: “For this, I have Jesus.”
Life takes on a different perspective in the light of Christ.
Remember – Jesus, is “above all” (John 3:31), and “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). When we have this kind of attitude, we will seek the progress of God’s work in our lives. It is Christ, not us, who should be the focus in all that we do.
The spotlight is the place for Christ, not us.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
This is the beauty of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. He died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sin and then rose from the dead to display His power over sin and death. The result is that in God’s eyes, faith in Christ’s work makes us a “new creation” and replaces the old with a “new life”. Looking through Jesus and His work on the cross for us, our heavenly Father sees everyone who has put his or her faith in Him as new and unblemished!
There is no doubt that sin has caused great damage in our lives and in our world. We can’t fix it alone and on our own. We must trust Jesus as our Savior and let Him give us a brand new life in His name!
Only Jesus can give you a new life.