Why Does My Christian Life Feel Like I Can’t Win?

The struggle of the Christian life is real. We fight against sin in our lives. We wrestle with doubts and confusion. We wait for the resurrection that never seems near enough when we lose a loved one. And we work tirelessly to live up to the calling God has placed on our lives as we follow Jesus. This hardly sounds like the victorious life I hear people talk about. When I can’t feel God around me in the middle of my situation, I feel as though I’ve been sent out into a room of a thousand people and told to teach them how to do a successful brain transplant. I have no idea what I’m doing, and the one who does is apparently silent. Where’s the victory in that? When a pregnant, Christian mother is at home alone with her child and an intruder rapes and then murders her in front of her child, injustice is an understatement. Where’s the victory in that? When a pastor of a large congregation battles depression and anxiety from his past, repented sin, crippling him behind the scenes and ruining his family life, defeat may be a better description. Where’s the victory in that? The Christian life in my experience isn’t filled with the daisies, roses, and rainbows I hear about from some pulpits. Where’s the victory they talk about? I can find an answer when I look at Scripture. Continue Reading...

What Should I Do When God’s Grace Isn’t Enough?

There have been several points in my life when God’s grace wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t because God wasn’t willing or gracious. It was because I didn’t allow it to be enough. The most recent point was last week. As a teenager I was addicted to pornography and it stayed with me into the first part of my marriage no matter how much I hated it and tried to kill it. Finally, God gave me victory. With the Spirit’s help and the help of my wife and close friends, I remain free to this day. But the memory of my failure haunted me. Actually “haunted” may be a bit light. The memory oppressed and attacked me. The shame was nearly unbearable. Though I had forgiveness and victory, by accepting these thoughts, I was saying, “You grace isn’t enough to take away my shame.” Continue Reading...

What is Sanctification?

I personally struggle to understand this aspect of the Christian life more than any other aspect at this point in my life. Sanctification, understood as the process of becoming more like Christ, seems frustratingly slow and, at times, feels like a losing battle. Perhaps I struggle with this now because God is dealing with me in this area now more than ever before, making me more aware of my own sanctification (or lack thereof). Perhaps I am not at all saved and therefore do not/cannot understand sanctification. I don’t believe this is the case, but this thought does run through my mind when I struggle with this at times. Or perhaps my own indwelling sinful nature that still remains in some way prevents me from understanding it. More than likely, I believe it’s a combination of the three, as weird as that may sound. Continue Reading...

If My People – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Do we accurately portray 2 Chronicles 7:14? It seems the application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 today is if we as the church repent from our sins God will make the sinners will quit sinning, jobs will come back from overseas, gas prices will drop, and it will be the 1950s again. If you want to force 2 Chronicles 7:14 into the context of the church and America you have to say the trouble in America is God’s discipline because of the sins of the church. But is that accurate? I’m about to tell you what I think, tell me what you think. Continue Reading...