Struggles in the Christian Life

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

2 Timothy 3:1-17, Exodus 7:8-13, John 15:18-21

Not long after my wife and I moved to Colorado, we became increasingly excited about exploring the foothills and peaks along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. One particular Saturday morning, we set out on a hike that had been recommend to us by a few trusted friends. Since they were Colorado natives and more adventurous than most, we naturally trusted their suggestion and set out for what we hoped would be a memorable afternoon.

The hike started out pleasant enough, meandering paths through a wooded glade. Over time the trail began to slowly rise toward the summit. Pointing out gnarled trees and curiously spotted birds to one another, we hardly noticed the change in the slope. We laughed and lingered as we pleased. Several miles later, though, we questioned just how far we actually were from the peak.

We began to wonder, “Are we there yet?”

The gentle pitch had turned into an aggressive incline. The gnarled trees had become logs crossing and blocking our footpath. The soft breeze had become an unnaturally chilly wind. Our legs were tiring, and our spirits weren’t quite as chipper as when we’d set out.

Before either of us spoke it, we both were thinking it: “Maybe we should head back?”

We stopped to consider our options. Then we began to head back down, slowly weaving our way through the boulders and rocky outcroppings.

A stranger passed by, heading uphill. “How was the view today?”

“Oh,” I muttered, “we didn’t quite make it. Maybe next time.”

“Are you serious?! You’re less than 500 yards from the top!”

This is precisely Paul’s spiritual concern for Timothy in our reading today, and it is still a spiritual concern for each us: that we would give up before we’ve completed the journey and falter before the finish. Paul cautions, “Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed” (1 Timothy 3:14).

Continue. Sometimes that’s all we can do. It may not feel all that glamorous or exciting, but the call is to continue—not for the joy of each step, but for the wonder of what lies beyond.

Thanks to our encounter with that seasoned hiker, we turned back uphill. We continued. We completed the summit, and the views were more than worth the effort. Filled with awe and wonder, my wife and I rested in a moment of indescribable fulfillment.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we live a life and walk a journey characterized by grace and redemption. However, this does not mean the way is smooth or the journey is easy. We need only look at the life of Jesus to know this is true. The Christian life will ebb and flow through different seasons. Sometimes the way is easy and the burden feels light; others times the way is steep and perhaps overwhelming.

If you’ve come to know Jesus, then I pray that Paul’s challenge and encouragement sticks with you this week. Continue on. Continue on in what you know to be true. Continue on in who you know you were made to be. Continue on in the belief that the summit is closer than you think.

If your heart is heavy, if your feet are weary, if your back is sore, if you can’t go one step more, I pray a one-word prayer for you today: continue.

Written by Andrew Stoddard

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5 thoughts on "Struggles in the Christian Life"

  1. Ken Fuller says:

    This is a good picture for us and encouragement to “continue” in the faith. When the writer realized the summit of their hike was only five hundred yards away, it was a chastisement for their giving up. We may not have a promise that the end is that close but we need to press on because it might be that or even closer. Or it might be even farther but the promise of the view is ours – it will be awesome when we reach the summit of being with Christ. Press on, brothers!

  2. David Newsome says:

    I needed that today. I have messed up in this life. It hurts. It bruises and even breaks. But Christ says to me,”continue”. Not win. Not run. Just keep going and trust me for the results.

    A little girl in my classroom and me how I am going to serve at church. She asked me about teaching a class or something. She was asking how I was going to engage in keeping on keeping on. How would I do something. She asked about college and career or youth. I told her I’m about to so something I can do for our celebrate recovery program. God sent her to tell me to “continue” and only that.

  3. Jesse PT says:

    Something to remember is the walk of being a christian is not easy. If it was everyone would be doing it. So as you take on the next phase of your journey as a follower of Christ trust that your daily efforts are what God wants of you. Make sure you are leaning on Christ for your daily bread. The next major factor is knowing the everyday will have its challenges so keep your head up and stay encouraged by the Word.

  4. Kevin says:

    Day 15: I like this a lot. Knowing that we have the base knowledge of God and the attacks of the world, we are called to continue in. Life gets hard, continue on. You’re with that one friend or group of friends you do stupid things around, continue in Gods plan. The world wants us to cave. To give up what we believe. We must persist and continue. Every time.

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