At any age, living for Christ comes with a price. In our teenage years the cost tends to be trying to live by a standard that is impossible to reach within our own strength, while dealing with the pressures/expectations of society. Daily we are faced with circumstances where we must reflect Christ.
One thing we must remember is that challenges are normal to every Christian, whether young or old and so in this we must not be discouraged.
The process of sanctification will always prove to be a challenging one simply because of the world we live in.
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24 NKJV)
Denial of self is not simply giving up things or actions occasionally, but surrendering to Christ and striving to wholeheartedly walk according to His Will.
Practical spiritual maintenance/integrity is acquired through:
– Spending time daily studying the scriptures:
This will give us a greater understanding of the character of God, and how to react in many situations. It will also give us deeper insight into who we are. Once we know our value, and acknowledge that the identity we now have is rooted in Christ, it’ll free us from trying to be something we’re not.
– A consistent prayer life:
Through prayer we communicate with God, and we’re able to vocally express our daily troubles. Our prayers should consist of a plea to God to make us stronger, rather than make things easier, because this is how we grow.
– Having Christ-centred friends:
The purpose in this is that you are able to effectively build one-another up according to the scriptures and provide each other with a sense of accountability, in & out of the 4 walls of the church.
The Bible rightly says:
“For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:10 NKJV)
However none of the above steps are as simple as it seems, as our flesh is in a constant battle with our spirit. In Matthew, Jesus addressed His disciples as He found them sleeping while He was praying in the garden, He uses these specific words:
“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NKJV)
When we take a look at our own lives, we can truly recognize how valid this statement is. We know we haven’t read the Word, or we haven’t prayed and there is a deep conflict that takes place, where we find it hard to detach ourselves from meaningless things.
Many times it is easy for us to find ourselves occupying our time with things that do not benefit us – from TV to the various social networking sites. We live in a day and age where we can connect with others (Text, Email, BBM) no matter where we are, so quite frankly we are never alone. These sorts of things rob us of our time.
It is essential that we make a conscious decision to remove ourselves from anything that we are placing and/or valuing more than acquiring godly knowledge. There is a cost for following Christ, a price that many of us don’t want to pay or even acknowledge. Nevertheless we need to come to the humble understanding that no matter what we give up on earth, it can never compare to the sacrifice that God paid in allowing His Son to die because of the sins we have/do commit.
Paul tells us:
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2 NKJV)
As Christians, it is vital that earthly things are not the focus of our minds or hearts. So in essence we live for eternity, with that said it means that there are many things we do not give our time to. If we understand that our ‘life is a vapour’ and regardless of how long we live it is nothing compared to eternity, then we’ll persevere through the temporary trials.
Therefore the Christian life consists of:
– Yielding to God, and seeking to understand Him better, and recognising who we are before Him.
– Daily denial of self and working to not satisfy the flesh.
– Challenging times in life.
“Therefore you must endure hardship as a good solider of Jesus Christ”
(2 Timothy 2:3 NKJV)
One thing that should never cease in the life of a believer is growth spiritually; this is where we find our strength and our hope.
A.W. Tozer said:
“Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth”
Never must we believe that we understand enough about God; His nature and character is beyond what the human mind can comprehend. All we can do is strive to know Him more.