Like most popular idioms, the phrase “the struggle is real” is rooted in a shared reality: we all face undesirable circumstances and challenges on a daily basis. A quick internet search delivers scores of related memes and urban dictionary entries because it attaches a wink of irony to the real-world problems with which so many of us wrestle.
But taken more literally, this phrase speaks to the fact that many of us really do struggle with fixating on life’s challenges. And it is within this context that “The Struggle is Real” is therefore the title for our first series of 2020.
As Ben Snyder noted during his weekend message, the best way to address our difficulties is to stop fixating on the struggle and start focusing on God.
To be certain, many of the challenges we face involve a matter of perspective. One of my favorite quotes, most often attributed to the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne, is, “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.” What Montaigne is saying, of course, is that we are the architects of many unfounded worries.
At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge that some struggles are undeniably real—and an unavoidable part of our life journey. While it would be unwise to suggest that we should minimize or ignore our problems, fixating on our struggles is entirely avoidable.
1 Peter 3:18
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
The wonderful reality is that God wants to relieve us of these burdens. Indeed, when we stop trying to manage life on our own and surrender our troubles to God, we find that he is ready and waiting to help. The gift of his spirit, which Jesus made available to us through his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, gives us clarity and strength to face what we cannot face on our own.
When we surrender our life to Christ, we are able to draw on the power of the Holy Spirit. And when we prioritize spiritual vision, we find that over time it grows and further empowers us. Put simply, what we come to realize is that God’s Got This.
Last weekend, attendees at all services received a “God’s Got This” bracelet. We encourage you to wear your bracelet as a physical reminder of the incredible power available through the Holy Spirit.
Finally, on behalf of our team, thank you for being a LivingItOut reader. As Ben noted last weekend, regularly reading the LivingItOut devotional is a great way to unpack and extend the impact of the weekly messages. If there is someone you believe would benefit from this daily devotional, direct them here to subscribe.
Do you find that you too often tend to “go it alone” in dealing with life’s struggles? If so, what are some practical examples of how turning your focus to God can ease this unnecessary burden?
What does the phrase “God’s Got This” mean to you? How can you apply it to your thinking on a more regular basis?
This week, CedarCreek embarked on its 21 Days of Prayer initiative. If you haven’t already done so, join in this expression of spiritual discipline in which we pray and forego physical comforts to heighten our spiritual connection to God. For more information on the 21 Days of Prayer, visit this online resource: CedarCreek 21 Days of Prayer.
21 Days of Prayer:
Day 4 – Placing my trust in God (Psalm 62:8)
Father, in your word you invite me to pour out my heart to you. You are my refuge, and I know that anything I think, feel, or do is okay to bring to you. Knowing that you are a safe place for me, I come to you and give you everything on my heart. (Talk to God about the specific things that are on your heart today.) From what is worrying me to what is delighting me, what I hope for to what I’m afraid of, I bring it all to you because I know I can trust you. Help me and guide me in every area, in Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Todd Romain. Todd enjoys sharing life with his wife Jessica and their family and serving at CedarCreek. He is a communications director at Owens Corning and enjoys reading, writing, music, and sports in his spare time.
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