OceanSide church of Christ
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I AM STRUGGLING (1)
Every Child of God Struggles at Times
Victor M. Eskew
A. The Christian life is supposed to be a good life (John 10:10).
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
1. Jesus said that He came so His followers could have life.
a. This is the Greek word “zoe.”
b. It involves a full, animated, and bountiful life.
2. Notice that Jesus said that He came to give them that life “more abundantly.”
B. Most of us can testify that the Christian life is full of blessings: freedom from sin, fellowship, worship, prayer, and hope to name a few.
C. But, we also know that there are times in our Christian lives when we struggle.
1. The struggles are real.
2. The struggles can be difficult.
3. The struggles can last for a long time.
4. The struggles take the joy out of our Christian lives.
5. The struggles can make us doubt.
6. The struggles involve our faithfulness to God.
D. In this lesson, we begin a series of lessons entitled: “I Am Struggling.” We want to see if we can help us through some of these difficult experiences we face as we walk the strait and narrow way.
E. This lesson will be an introductory lesson. We have subtitled it: “Every Child of God Struggles at Times.”
I. THE CHRISTIAN LIFE CAN BE HARD
A. We noted that the Christian life is supposed to be an abundant life.
B. But, we are also told that it can be a difficult life at times.
1. Jesus did not hide the difficulties of this life from His followers.
a. He noted we can be persecuted (Matt. 5:10-12).
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
b. Jesus also told us that we would be hated at times (Mark 13:13).
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.
c. He even told us that we could have foes in our own houses (Matt. 10:36).
And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
2. It is not surprising that our lives can be difficult because we have a foe who is out to destroy us.
a. I Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
b. Two examples:
1) Peter (Luke 22:31)
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.
2) Judas (John 13:27a)
And after the sop Satan entered into him…
3. There are number factors that make life difficult.
a. Life can be difficult at times because we are in this fleshly body.
1) II Corinthians 5:4a
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened…
2) This body is subject to so many bad things:
c) Sickness and disease both physical and mental
b. Life can be difficult because we have free moral agency. In other words, we have the freedom to choose.
1) We do not always choose wisely.
2) Even after much deliberation, we sometimes still make the wrong choice.
3) We make choices not being able to see into the future.
4) Our choices are sometimes made because of selfishness.
5) We sometimes feel pressured into making choices.
c. Life can be difficult because we live among other individuals.
1) We have families and friends.
2) We have neighbors.
3) We have associates that we must cooperate with.
4) We have brothers and sisters in Christ.
5) We have individuals who are in positions over us.
6) We have to deal with some people that others have put in certain places.
II. BIBLE GREATS WHO STRUGGLED
A. Joseph struggled with family and with injustice.
1. His brothers envied him and hated him.
2. He was charged with crimes he did not commit in Potipher’s household.
B. Moses struggled against disrespect for authority and rebellion.
1. Moses’ authority was challenged by the children of Israel.
2. Moses’ authority was even challenged by his sister and brother.
C. King Saul struggled with himself.
1. There was a time when Saul was little in his own eyes, but he was lifted up with pride.
2. His sins caused him to be rejected from being king of Israel.
D. David struggled against a foe who hated him.
1. David was a loyal servant and soldier to King Saul.
2. Saul, however, despised David because of his popularity among the people and sought to kill David in many ways.
E. Solomon struggled with the meaning of life.
1. Solomon reigned in Israel during the most prosperous period of Israel’s history.
2. His riches, however, did not bring meaning to life. He spent extensive time and resources trying to discover what it is.
F. Elijah struggled with depression.
1. Elijah was a very faithful and courageous prophet of God.
2. However, there was a time when Jezebel sought his life and Elijah grew very discouraged.
G. Hannah struggled with being barren and being mocked.
1. Hannah was one of the wives of Elkanah.
2. She was barren, but Peninnah had children.
3. Peninnah was not a compassionate person. Instead, she provoked Hannah constantly.
H. John the Baptist struggled with uncertainty.
1. When John the Baptist went into prison, his mind become uncertain.
2. He sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if he were truly the Christ.
I. Paul struggled against enemies and false teachers.
1. When Paul converted to Christianity, many of the Jews became his enemy.
2. Paul was opposed by the Jews in almost every city and town he visited.
J. Paul struggled with his past.
1. Paul mentions his past on numerous occasions.
2. Yes, he knew that he was forgiven and was grateful, but he could not forget some of the things he had done.
K. Peter struggled with fear.
1. When Jesus was arrested, Peter followed in order to see what would happen to him.
2. When he was confronted about being a disciple, his fear caused him to deny the Lord three times.
L. Simon, the sorcerer, struggled with sin.
1. Simon was a new convert from the city of Samaria.
2. In the past, he was looked upon highly by the residents of the city due to his sorcery.
3. When he saw the miraculous ability of the apostles, he desired it and offered them money in order to acquire it.
III. THE KEYS TO OUR STRUGGLES
1. Faith can be simply defined as “trusting in God.”
2. In our struggles faith has a tendency to waver and grow weak. “O ye of little faith.”
3. Faith MUST be maintained (I John 5:4b).
…and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
1. Our struggles are tests.
2. These tests must be endured to the end.
3. James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.
1. The faithful are not overcome by their struggles. Instead, they are overcomers.
2. They find victory on the other side of their trials.
3. I John 4:4
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1. In our struggles, we can leave the faith or we can learn more about the faith.
2. It is in the heat of battle, the confusion of controversy, and the difficulties of life that some of the greatest lessons are learned.
3. Hebrews 5:8
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.
1. Growth comes through the experiences of life.
2. We become better people after we have suffered adversity.
3. Romans 5:3-4
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience, and experience, hope.
1. If difficulty were all there is to life, then we would give up.
2. We know, however, that even if our struggles end in death, that is not all there is.
3. We have a hope beyond this life that propels us through the harshest of storms and the darkest of nights.
4. II Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
A. Struggles in the Christian life are real.
B. We do not always do our best when we have to face struggles.
C. We are going to have a series of lessons dealing with some of the struggles that all of us have to face.