resistance, suffering, and perseverance

Lewis is my name and I recently turned my life over to Christ. My wife Sarah saw the huge change in me and decided to put her faith in Jesus also. Our two young children now have parents who are trying their best to be the mom and dad, and the wife and husband, God wants us to be. We are far from perfect, but we both feel so blessed to be on the same journey of faith, hope, and love.

But this journey is being met with resistance. Sarah’s family has basically disowned her and we have faced a host of other challenges. Reading the Bible helps us understand that there is a battle being fought in the spiritual world that is very real. All children of God have a ruthless enemy who hates to see a person or a family dedicate itself to the Lord and His ways.

Individually, I’ve sensed Satan’s desire to simply get me to retreat from faith and return to a life of ‘calling my own shots.’ So my prayer is to recognize his crafty ways, and for God, who has all power, to make me good soil. I do not want to be the hard path, or the rocky soil, or the thorny ground where ‘life’ is choked out. I want to bear fruit for the One who saved me. (see Mark 4:1-20)

Remembering the power of prayer and the Person of the Holy Spirit who lives in us, I must ‘resist the devil’ and know he will eventually flee. The life of the child of God (or the family of God) is no joke. Satan constantly schemes… but “greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.”

I need my focus to be on our Good Shepherd who has rescued His sheep and will not be defeated. No one can snatch us out of His hand! He gives peace in the midst of the storm. He whispers: ‘Joy comes in the morning’ and encourages us to persevere. He says perseverance must be learned for us to become mature.

I long to be a mature husband, a mature father, a mature disciple of Christ… who lives by faith. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” If difficulty comes, I must choose to trust, obey… and persevere.

Though He has given us salvation and every spiritual blessing, God seems to choose to let suffering take place in the lives of His children. Though we are young in the faith, Sarah and I confess that our trials have actually led to more dependence on God. If Jesus “learned obedience from what He suffered,” should we be any different?

What did Jesus mean when He said anyone who follows Him must “take up his cross daily”? Peter wrote: “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” I don’t have all the answers, but such Scriptures help us understand that our blessed life in Christ will not always be easy. I am asking God for grace to be faithful… no matter what.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-3

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