The Struggle

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I love New Year’s Eve more than Christmas.

I feel like I’m not allowed to say that, but it’s true. Sure, I do love Christmas—the time with family and friends, good food, thoughtful gifts—but there’s also a lot of pressure that comes with the holiday. The New Year, on the other hand, feels like nothing but pure potential to me. Like so many others, I find myself looking forward to the next 365 days and wondering, “How can I make this year better than the last?”

Of course, as Lead Pastor Ben Snyder mentioned last weekend, reality starts to set in around halfway through January — or, if you’re like me, two days into January. As much as I want to be consistent with exercise, Thursday night was cold and dark, I was tired, and I did not want to go to the gym.

The struggle is real.

We struggle when we want what we don’t have, or when we have what we don’t want. Sometimes we’re even afraid of struggling itself. We know that the life we want—making a difference, growing, improving—usually comes with difficulty and discomfort.

I know that if I go to the gym tonight, my muscles will be sore, which is a guilt-ridden reminder of all those times I skipped going to the gym. It would be so much easier to stay home and settle for where I am. It would be easy for me to settle in most areas of my life — including spiritually — by avoiding anything uncomfortable.

However, in the end, discomfort is a part of life. It can’t be avoided.

John 16:33
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

God never says that there won’t be struggles. In fact, Jesus guarantees in this verse that we will have trials and sorrow. If the verse ended there, it would be pretty disheartening. Instead, it’s uplifting, because it says that Jesus is with us, and he has overcome the world.

Of course, that doesn’t mean he’ll give me supernatural strength at the gym tonight. But it is a reminder that, spiritually, we can lean on God for whatever we need: patience, self-discipline, wisdom, and so much more. As this month’s theme verse states, the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us!

Romans 8:11
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

The struggle is real, but so is our God. The trials and sorrows are great, but Jesus is greater. You can trust in him.

Questions:
How do you feel about the New Year 2020? Why do you think you feel this way?

What struggle are you currently facing? Have you presented this problem to God and asked for his help?

When faced with difficulties or discomfort, do you avoid them, try to handle them yourself, or turn to the Holy Spirit?

Next Steps:
Reorient your focus from yourself and your problems to God and his strength through 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

The next time you find yourself struggling, instead of looking to your own strength, wisdom, patience, etc., ask him to supply what you need.

If you have not surrendered your life to God and received the Holy Spirit, there is no better day than today.

21 Days of Prayer:
Day 1 – Drawing close to God (James 4:8)
Dear God, you have promised that if I draw near to you, you will draw near to me. I need more of your presence today, and I am drawing near to you through prayer, worship, and reading your word. I open my heart to you and ask you to be near to me, changing me to be more like you. Amen.


This post was written by Payton Lechner. Payton is currently the apprentice copywriter at CedarCreek. In her spare time, she freelances as a writer and editor. Besides the English language, Payton loves swimming, cats, and a good cup of tea.


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9 replies
  1. Jeff Sterrett
    Jeff Sterrett says:

    Thanks, Payton, for the reminder that God’s Spirit is alive and well in us, empowering us today… Counting on that today!

  2. Andy Rectenwald
    Andy Rectenwald says:

    Thanks for this, Payton!

    I loved this next step: “The next time you find yourself struggling, instead of looking to your own strength, wisdom, patience, etc., ask him to supply what you need.”

    I could definitely do that more often!

  3. Marna Ward
    Marna Ward says:

    Those questions at the end were on point. I’m praying that 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting will be a time where I develop a truly Pray First heart – in struggling and in all things really. This line: “The struggle is real, but so is our God. The trials and sorrows are great, but Jesus is greater. You can trust in him.” Amen! And I’m going to listen to that song that Nate posted.

  4. Josh Whitlow
    Josh Whitlow says:

    James 4:8 is one of my favorite verses. Thanks for the great reminders, Payton. I’m so excited to start this year off with my focus on God’s power not on my own.

  5. Shawn Bellner
    Shawn Bellner says:

    What a great reminder! “The struggle is real, but so is our God. The trials and sorrows are great, but Jesus is greater. You can trust in him.”

  6. Luke Shortridge
    Luke Shortridge says:

    Pure potential! That’s true! Makes me think about God has in store for 2020… both in my life and in the life of the Church! Praying that we are obedient to His will this year and are faithful to the calling He’s given us!

  7. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    This is great! Thank you for admitting your struggles. I find comfort in knowing I’m not the only one. It’s good to know there are others who struggle just as I. God put us on this path together so we can encourage one another and spur each other on towards love and good deeds! Hebrews 10:24

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