ARE YOU STRUGGLING?

I am not talking about your finances, physical health, commitment to exercising, or how soundly you sleep. There is no doubt that each of those matters can have a tremendous influence on a person’s life.

I am asking if you are struggling in your spiritual life. Specifically, I am wondering if you are struggling with things that we would count as some of the basics of being a Christian.

If you and I are struggling in some sense in our service to the Lord, we are not the first ones in history to do so. Moses had his struggles, as did Naomi. So did David, Elijah, Jeremiah, and Peter.

Dealing with struggles is a part of life. There may be some struggles which we bring on ourselves; in other cases, we may struggle due to factors which are out of our control. Let us not think at this moment about how other brothers and sisters might be struggling. We care about them, but we have to get our own affairs in order before we can be effective in helping others. Let us be personal: this is about us, you and me, and nobody else. Are we struggling?

What about your prayer life? Are you struggling? God says His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous (1 Peter 3:12). Are we offering prayers for Him to hear? God wants us to make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:6). He wants us to “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2).

If we find ourselves not doing much praying, perhaps we could give ourselves reminders, putting it down in writing on our schedule or setting our phones to remind us at specific times to pray.

If we feel like we are struggling with the content of our prayers (what to say), why not look at some Bible instructions about how to pray as well as specific examples of prayer? Study Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hezekiah’s prayer in 2 Kings 19:8-19, David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:10-19, the Levites’ prayer in Nehemiah 9:5-38, Jesus’ instructions about prayer in Matthew 6:9-15, and the Master’s own prayer in John 17:1-26.

Are the requests and concerns we express in our prayers all about ourselves and no one else? If so, that sounds like we are struggling with self- centeredness or a lack of thoughtfulness. Consider making a running list of some people, events, and scenarios for which you can pray. Give it a try.

What about your personal Bible study? Are you struggling? Do you find it difficult to find time to do serious Bible study? We would never dream of declaring, “I have no interest in listening to God speak to me through His word,” yet if we are not careful, we can become so involved/busy with everything else under the sun that we unintentionally fail to set aside time to be like those Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).

Just like praying, it is up to us to arrange our own time so we can study God’s Book. At what time of day do you concentrate the best: early in the morning or later in the day? Try to find a quiet place where you are uninterrupted by everything else that is going on in the world. That is correct: turn off the TV, get off the internet, and put your phone on silence or place it out of your hearing range. We need to feast on God’s word in order to grow (1 Peter 2:2). We know that. We also know studying is worth it. We just have to develop self-discipline to put in the effort and time.

What about your worship to God in church assemblies? Are you struggling? If so, is the issue humility? The Psalmist wrote, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD our Maker” (Psalm 95:6).

Are you struggling to worship from the heart? Does it feel like you are just going through the motions? Does the communion feel like plain old bread and nothing more? Do you find yourself voicing the words of a song, but you do not pay any attention to their meaning? Remember, as we come before the Lord, He wants our offerings to come from the heart and not be lips-only (Mark 7:6).

Are you struggling to focus in worship? That can be a real challenge. If focusing has been a problem lately, may I ask if you are getting sufficient sleep before going to worship? An exhausted body hinders the mind from concentrating. Before you leave your residence to go to worship, do you pray, listen to some uplifting spiritual songs, read the Bible, or do anything else that might help you get prepared to bow before the great I AM in worship? Give it a try.

Do you find yourself being distracted easily during worship? Many disciples have found that by sitting up closer to the speaker/front of the assembly, they can concentrate much better. Others take notes during the lesson to help them focus, learn, meditate, and remember. You might want to try it.

There certainly are other areas in a Christian’s life in which he might struggle, but the three we have mentioned are fairly common. If you find yourself struggling in some aspect of your service to the Lord, by all means, do not give up on yourself! To struggle does not mean you are a hopeless cause. We all have room to grow. May we always give all diligence in all that we do for the Master (2 Peter 1:5-7).

— Roger D. Campbell

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