What idle moments are there in your life? Those are the times that often lead to real spiritual struggles. Idle moments are when anxiety can fill our minds, when lustful thoughts can invade, when bitterness and anger can rise to the surface, when fear can paralyse us.
Those very moments that lead to the greatest struggles in our spiritual lives can be turned into one of the greatest sources of spiritual growth as we begin to give those idle moments to God.
The time in the car, or lying awake in bed, or in between classes, or waiting in the doctor’s office, or watching TV. In a sense, we all have giants that we encounter in life. By giants I mean those seemingly insurmountable problems and issues that we have tried to bring down but have only grown stronger with the passing of time. For some people, it may be the giant of fear. For others, it might be the giant of a personal sin. For still others, it might be the giant of addiction.
Our lives are like tempest-tossed boat rides sometimes. We climb to breathtaking heights and fall to desperate lows, and there are times when we feel as though we just can't go on. The Lord understands these feelings. He was exalted on Sunday and nailed to a cross just five days later. He has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and He, too, felt Himself melt in the face of distress. It is well to remember that the Lord is with us, and He can truly be of help to us because He has walked our path before us. When the storms of life toss us the hardest, that is when we can count on the Lord to be closest.
But no matter who we are, we all face giants: hardships, temptations, obstacles, and challenges. Yet 1 Corinthians 10:13 assures us, "The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure."
Know this: every giant can be defeated. There is no power you need to be under . . . no addiction that needs to control your life . . . no lifestyle you cannot break free from . . . no giant that should be overpowering you. You have everything you need in your relationship with Christ.
Growth and change, are not easy. This is what so many people resist. This is what so many of us fail to choose every minute of every day. We have a choice to make – we can work on ourselves, correct our faults, improve our virtues, adapt, change, develop, and grow. That is choosing life. Or we can choose the easier mode of stagnation, the comfort of staying inside our comfort zone, or not doing the hard work to make our dreams a reality. This is what we call death. No movement, no growth, and no change.
Sadly, so many people get to the end of their lives and realize that they never really lived. They never took any risks or rocked the boat too much. They never followed their dreams or spent enough time with their loved ones. This is why Scripture needs to come along and encourage us to choose life. It’s so much easier to pass up that choice and to simply maintain the status quo. However, easier is not better. The only life worth living is the one that is truly lived.
Life is not a race we are going to win. At some point, whether because of this fallen world or our own sin nature, all of us will stumble and fall. Many people believe that these times of tragedy prove God either does not exist, or simply does not care what happens to us, but they are wrong.
True Christian grace is that in those moments of pain and defeat, God takes us by the hand, holds us up, and says, “Let’s finish together.”