“When you give your life to Jesus, all your problems will be over. Your life will be a bed of roses, one victory after another!”
Unfortunately, the above statement is what we use most times when we’re trying to evangelize to people, to get them to abandon their lives of sin and follow Jesus.
In as much as I would love that statement to be true in it’s entirety, it is not.
Following Jesus and living the Christian life is a beautiful journey of love, joy, peace, adventure, victories, conquests, etc (the mountaintops). Then there are also the low points (the valleys); points where you have to sacrifice, step out of your comfort zone, cry, make tough decisions, face rejection, hardships, and most importantly, fight. The mountaintops inspire us, but valleys mature us. The experience of the mountain can help you to see your life down below in a new and different way.
As wonderful as it’ll be to always have the beauty of the mountaintop experiences, the valleys are important for your growth, because they teach you to trust and depend on God, and to fight. Fight the good fight of faith. It is a good fight, because it is one in which you have the victory even before you start fighting. Jesus has already won the victory for us!
You have to fight to defend your victory though, because there’s an enemy out there who is after it. He likes to test to see if you know your place, if you know that you’re truly a victor, and if he can get you to abandon your victory to go back to slavery under him. It’s a battle between two kingdoms; the kingdom of God to which you’ve enlisted by following Jesus, and the kingdom of darkness which has marked you a major target, and is set on fighting to eliminate you because you follow Jesus.
Oh yes… you are a target, a major one.
Watch out for part 2 on next Sunday…