The Necessity for Struggle – Part 2

Last month, the definition of “struggle” according to Merriam Webster Dictionary was presented. It is: “…to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition, or to proceed with difficulty or with great effort.”

But what if a struggle is not a bad thing or something we encounter that messes with us? When we go the workout area of a fitness facility, we ELECT to lift weights and participate on equipment that makes us sweat, groan, and hurt? Is that a struggle?  What if we have to push away that second helping of excellent food and bypass a delicious dessert? Are that a struggle? It is now past harvest time, but did we have to content last summer with weeding, keeping moles from our yards, put up with mosquitoes and poison ivy as we tried to put together a meager garden of tomatoes and leafy greens? Aren’t those struggles? When bronchitis sets in and it is really hard to breathe, isn’t that a struggle?

But a struggle with a temptation seldom taxes our physical strength. Satan knows a strong physical body isn’t a problem for him, but a strong will of a believer is a main target of the evil one.

Where can the answer be found to relieve us form life’s struggles? James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” The word. “endures” relates a vision of working through something in the Greek. Working implies physical or mental effort of some kind to achieve a desired result or goal. In this case, the goal is to battle Satan and this temptation with a conscious determination to fight and win.

It takes work to walk the line. It takes mental strength, discipline, dedication to Biblical truths and principles to keep a business honest, to keep a reputation intact, to keep contacts with customers and vendors equitable and beneficial, and to keep employees motivated and focused with an HR team that knows the importance of authenticity, sincerity, and uniformity with rules and guidelines.

Key point:  So why struggle when we can use leverage? Matthew 11:29 – 30 says: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Is this verse a paradox? No. Does it reveal something that is extremely valuable? Yes. How does a yoke lessen the load when it’s the Lord’s yoke? When there is a struggle in your life, bring it to Jesus Christ. Allow Him to “hitch” up to your concern. But instead of pulling the weight equally with the pull bar equally between you and the Lord. He wants us to slide the entire load over to His side. By doing this by faith (see Hebrews chapter 11), the Lord now pulls with all of HIS might, and not just dividing it up between He and I. With this mechanical advantage by faith, we trust Him to pull the way it ought to be pulled. By faith, He will pull in the direction it needs to be pulled in, He will pull it at the speed it needs to be pulled in, and He will stop pulling when He knows it is no longer necessary for that particular struggle.

But without faith that He really knows how to do all of that, we put ourselves at great risk. If we worry; if we pull with our own strength signaling we don’t need Him in a particular struggle; if we just give up to the temptation and cave in, we are essentially telling the Lord to slide the beam going to that struggle from His side to ours. The mechanical spiritual advantage disappears and we get tangled up with stress and reduced purpose.

“Lord, thank You for providing a way to bring our faith to work. Thank You for the vehicle of prayer through which we can spiritually transport requests, frustrations, praises, and worship. Forgive us when we fail at this, so allow us to build our inner strength to leverage the true purpose You brought us into this world for.In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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