“When I was young, I was sure of many things; now there are only two things of which I am sure, one is that I am a miserable sinner and the other, that Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour. He is well-taught who learns these two lessons.”
– John Newton
I will be 25 years old this year. To the middle school students I minister to I seem old--especially when I don’t know about some new fad they're talking about. But by most people’s standards I am still very young.
The other day as I was thinking while cleaning the house, I had a realization that brought about some fear. Provided I do not have any accidents or major health concerns in my life, I likely still have 50-60 years left in this life on earth. Now living a good, long life was not my fear. My fear came as I began thinking about how, as I grow in my Christian walk, I am continually recognizing and being convicted of sin in my life. Whether new sin, or the creeping in of past sinful habits, sin feels inescapable. Do you ever feel like me?
As I thought about the relatively few years that I have been a Christian and the many sins I’ve battled thus far, I got worried knowing that the presence of sin as a whole in my life will not go away this side of eternity. That means that I have 50-60 more years of fighting sin.
And that scared me.
Can I really take 50 more years of struggling with sin? What sins am I going to face in the future? Is the Christian life truly worth often feeling crummy because of sin?
Well, of course the answer was "Yes!" The Christian life is a difficult mountain climb, but it is so infinitely worthwhile to endure the discipline and difficulty in order to reach the summit. Still, I found myself asking, Why is life so long? Why is the Christian life often so difficult? And, what is going to keep me going for the next 50 years, knowing I can’t be completely without sin while I am on earth?
Thankfully the answer came rather quickly to my mind as I contemplated the Scripture I’d recently been reading.
What motivates us to continue on in the Christian walk when sanctification feels like such a slow, arduous, and often difficult process?
The promises of an awesome God!
Though this life seems difficult and sometimes daunting, we have incredible promises through Jesus Christ.
Below are some notes on Hebrews 12 that I hope will help you when the Christian life seems tough and you're tempted to give up the good fight. Notice that we have promises in life (on earth) and in death (in heaven).
1. Look to the cross (v.3-4)
2. Remember you are a child of God (v.5-7)
3. Recognize the way God uses difficulties in our life to mold us (v. 10-11)
4. Realize that our sanctification helps others see Christ through us (v.14)
5. Be grateful for an unshakable Kingdom (v.28)
It is by the grace of God and for the glory of God that we are being sanctified. Let us all long for His holy reproof with joy and “run with endurance the race that is before us” that we may say along with Paul, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7).