Growing and learning. That’s the life of a Christian in a nutshell, isn’t it? There are more growing and learning days than great and fantastic days. Growing is a process. At times it is difficult and painful. Ever feel like you take one step forward and two back? The life of a Christian can be tough. It is no Disney Land. Paul, said, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2Cor. 4:8,9). That’s true. But, that also demands persevering through those moments that are hard. Refusing to give up.
The Christian life does not mean because we are a Christian all our problems are solved. The Bible never says that. The Bible assures us we will be new creatures; it also assures us that we have a promise that is secure. But nowhere does the Bible guarantee a downhill slide once we are Christians. In fact, in some instances the road may get tougher. Life certainly was not easier for Paul after he became a Christian (2Cor. 11:28-33).
Also, the life of a Christian does not mean all the problems we ever face are addressed in the Bible. There are many times we do not find an explicit answer in the Bible for our particular problem. At such times we are forced to walk by faith, trusting the Lord. Abraham certainly did.
Furthermore, being a Christian does not mean if you have problems that you are unspiritual. Sadly, this pervades even the thinking of Christians. Having problems simply means you are human! We all have problems, and wrestling with a dilemma does not mean we are unspiritual. Some of the most spiritual men and women wrestled with significant problems in their life. Consider Job and his suffering. He did not have an answer. He did not understand why. His counselors, with their severe and heady statements, were grossly wrong. They didn’t know either.
Finally, being a Christian does not mean being exposed to sound biblical teaching automatically solves problems. Bible instruction alone will not result in instant solutions. No matter how reliable the teaching or gifts of the teacher, the declaration of truth does not provide the removal of difficulties.
Think of the Bible as an absolute road map. A map that tells how to get to a certain destination. But just looking at a map won’t automatically transport us to Arizona or England. Getting to our destination means we have to make the effort, pay the cost, and take the time for travel. We must stay at it until we arrive. So it is with the life of a Christian. God’s map is reliable and available. It is clear and direct. But there is no hocus-pocus in its pages that automatically sends us on magic a carpet ride. Christians must persevere in order to grow.
by Rickie Jenkins