Okay, I’m going to get this out of the way: life is hard.
Some of you are probably rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “Goodness Elena, you’re just now realizing it?”
This past week I’ve had to do hard things. Things I don’t necessarily want to go in detail about, but I’ll just say that they were hard. It was hard to think positive thoughts about myself, it was hard to keep focused on the race ahead of me, and it was really hard to get backed up after the enemy knocked me down.
Today I was scrolling through Instagram when I came across a quote that really resonated with me, and I quote:
“‘You’re going to be happy,’ said life, ‘but first I will make you strong.’”
If I’ve learned anything about being a Christian, it’s that the walk isn’t easy. The road less traveled is naturally harder to walk. If you remember in Matthew 7:14, the way which leads to life is difficult and very few will find it.
Christianity isn’t as easy as being baptized and taking communion on the first day of the week. It’s not a Bible verse in your Instagram bio or attending services 3 times a week. It’s a lifestyle. It’s choosing to stick with the storms, even if it’s knocked you down before. It’s sacrificing the desire to be well liked and speaking truth. It’s having a serious relationship with God every single day. It’s giving. It’s trusting. It’s obedience. And it’s hard.
Sometimes God just lets things fall into our lap. But other times God will put us through a storm in order to show us that we can overcome it. You have been assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved. God sees that you are ready for it, and he sees you as strong enough to overcome it.
So maybe this morning you woke up and received unfortunate news. Maybe you had to do something that was hard and outside your comfort zone. Maybe you had to choose what was best for you, even if it wasn't the best for others.
Maybe your mountain is a little closer to being conquered than it was yesterday.
Don’t choose to believe anything Satan says. He knows you well. Actually, probably better than you know you. Uh, that’s a little scary, isn’t it? He knows who you are, and that is why he plants lies.
He knows your weaknesses, triggers, and insecurities. Where God would show compassion and an escape, Satan indulges in the crushing of one’s spirit.
Here’s the good news: It’s not true. Satan is the Father of Lies (John 8:44). Nothing he says is true about you.
You are not weak. Look how far you’ve come.
You are not a disappointment. You did that which was best for you.
You are not what Satan tells you, because he is a liar.
You can be confident in your identity because your identity is in Christ. The term Christian actually means to be “Christ-like.” My identity is not in man’s opinion of me, the clique I’m in, or anything which Satan tells me. It’s Christ who I can have full confidence in because of his perfection, completion, and blameless nature.
John 8:44 tells us that God cannot lie. So when God tells us that he is fighting for us, that he loves us, that he will judge us, and that one day very soon he will rescue us, we know that it’s true. That is why I have confidence in the Lord.
The race doesn’t end when we fall down. Actually, the race becomes all the more real because that’s when we have to choose to chase after the prize even harder. Proverbs 4:25 tells us to keep running, and setting our mind on what lies before us.
It got me thinking: there’s nothing I can do to change my past. Not a single thing. But I can always change my future. I can always decide right now that I want to change, or that I want to do something differently.
It does us no good to focus on our past mistakes or failures. All we can do is fix our eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward.
My call to you today is to keep moving. Fix your eyes on that which is to come. There are times of rejoicing coming soon. But until then, let’s decide to keep the faith, even when life is hard.