Miserable Christianity

You have heard of oxymorons, two words that just don’t go together. Some of my favorites are: boneless ribs, awfully good, pretty ugly, and my all time favorite Jumbo shrimp. Here’s an oxymoron for you: miserable Christian. Those are two words that should never go together. I can have salvation, be on my way to heaven but if I have no peace or joy, I will not be an influence on others for God. Sinners are talking loud, telling everyone about their sin. Let’s talk louder about what God is doing.

In Genesis 11:31 Terah, the father of Abraham, left Ur of Chaldees to go to Canaan, but when they reached Haran, they settled there instead. But – that was where he gave up, that was the place of defeat, that was where he missed his destiny. Some will press through regardless, others will be wimpy and whiney. What will make you give up? What are the “potholes” that have caught you in the past and gotten you off track? Recognize them, plan for them or they will take you out again.

Romans 8:29 says we are destined to be molded into the image of Jesus. Everyday I am changing, looking more and more like Jesus. Isaiah 64:8 tells us God is the Potter and we are the clay. When that clay is put on the potter’s wheel and spun, pressed, squeezed, and reshaped, it is not pleasant for the clay, but it is necessary if the clay is to become what the potter wants. It may not be comfortable to change but it is necessary. I will never be happy outside of God’s will. What attitudes or behaviors have to go in my life? Unforgiveness, selfishness, pride? Change will cost me something. Am I willing to pay the price? Luke 14:28 warns us to count the cost. What will it cost to keep that behavior? What will it cost to let it go?

1John 3:8 says, “To this end the Son of God was revealed, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” I can choose the pain of change or the pain of regret. I can go through the struggle of change today or I can look back a year from now and experience the regret of missing what God has for me. I must be mentally prepared for the struggle. If I expect life to be smooth and easy because I follow God, I will be sorely disappointed.

Colossians 3:1-4 commands, “If then, Gill was raised together with Christ, he should seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. Gill is to set his mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For Gill died, and his life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Gill’s life, is revealed, then Gill will also be revealed with Him in glory.” I must keep the right perspective, the right focus.

The Israelite nation was stuck in the wilderness, doing the same thing over and over. Finally in Deuteronomy 2:3 God tells them, “You’ve gone around this mountain long enough.” Israel was stopped not by their enemies but by their attitude. My complaining just opens the door to the enemy.

Ever feel stuck in the middle: don’t want to go back but not sure you can make it to the finish line? Walking with God is OK until it costs something. It makes us uncomfortable because it calls for sacrifice and rejection. Holy Spirit came so I would have the power to go all the way.

2Corinthians 5:20 tells me I am a representative of God’s kingdom, an ambassador. When people look at me they should see Christ. In 1Cor 11:1 Paul makes a remarkable statement: “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” In other words, “Do you want to know what it is to be Christ-like? Look at me.” I’m not sure I’m ready to make that claim, but I want to be headed there.

When we go through a time of trial, our emotions can tend to pull us down. In those times, what I speak will lift me up or pull me further down. Deut. 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth to witness against Gill this day, that I have set before him life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore Gill should choose life, that he may live, he and his seed.” Every day I face a choice between life and death, particularly in my words. I need to speak truth even in difficult times. Truth is that wrong words bring destruction.

Do I sound saved?

  • “My back is killing me.” When did back pain become a fatal disease?
  • “I love you to death.” I would much rather you love me to life.
  • “You drive me crazy.” I may be crazy but I didn’t need your help to get there, thank you very much.

And we wonder why we have problems! Proverbs 18:21 warns, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” I can hurt or help my future through my words.

I don’t do the right thing in order to get something from God but because it is the right thing. Then I can trust God that He will bring the right result at the right time. I was thinking about the story of Paul and Silas in Acts 16. They had been witnessing for the Lord when they were arrested, beaten and thrown into the darkest, dirtiest, smelliest part of the prison. The Bible tells us at midnight they were singing and praising God when an earthquake hit, opening the doors and loosing the chains. Do you really think Paul had leaned over to Silas and said, “Come on. If we sing loud enough, God will get us out of here!” Paul didn’t have the New Testament to read; he didn’t know how that night would turn out. All he knew was it was the right thing.

1Thes 5:18 says, “In all things give thanks, this is God’s will for those who are in Christ.” That doesn’t say when I feel like it or when life is going good. No, in all things! 2Chronicles 20:22 is a remarkable story. King Jehoshaphat and the city of Jerusalem were in a hopeless situation: the city was surrounded by three massive armies. But God gave Jehoshaphat a plan, he opened the city gates and sent out singers ahead of the army. The result: the enemy was thrown into confusion, they began killing each other and Jerusalem won the victory. When David faced Goliath, he used his words before he used his sling. Goliath said, “What am I, a dog that you send a boy with a stick against me?” But David was not moved. He said, “This day I will feed your carcass to the birds of the air.”

Godly character is built in hard times. Philippians 2:14 commands, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.” How do I live that out? Pay bills without grumbling or arguing. Take out the garbage without grumbling or arguing. Show up for work on Monday without grumbling or arguing.

God will work something good if I keep a good attitude. Look at Joseph in the Old Testament: sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape by his owner, thrown into prison to rot. His situation was hopeless but he kept his hope in God and He lifted him up.

Christians were not meant to live small, miserable lives. We are to shine in a dark world. We can be different. We must be different.

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One Comment on “Miserable Christianity”

  1. excellent post, sir 🙂

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