The Ups and Downs of Life
The Ups and Downs of Life
As we go through life there are peaks and valleys, times when we feel good about life, and times when we are not so enthusiastic about life. During my 60 years of serving our Lord and Savior and trying to be the complete servant of Jesus Christ there have been times when I was very zealous for the Lord, and times when the frustrations of life seemed overwhelming.
I have had many people share with me that they were "leaving the faith." What they were stating was that they were no longer going to be walking with Jesus. These people had reached the point where they had allowed their zealousness to grow into discontent. What they were really saying was that following Jesus is too demanding. There was an old term that I heard somewhere along the way that these individuals were experiencing "burnout". They had reached the point where their enthusiasm had become discontent.
Can a follower of Christ resolve to stop being a servant of the Lord?
Or to state it another way; has our work (our personal work) become more important than being a servant to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Many times, during my life I have seen models of people of faith that I esteemed highly and thought were living successful Christian life. I had all of the established viewpoints and self-imposed expectations of what it means to be spiritual and godly. They were struggling to live a righteous life, but their motivations were not what they should have been. James tells us that sometimes we allow our desires to overrule our motives. James 4:3 (ESV) 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
We spend our time working hard to earn the love of God and others, and all the while feeling as though we are moving further and further away from fulfilling the purpose that God has for us. Sometimes we feel as though we can never achieve the purpose that God has for us. Then at some point we equate this to failure.
If we allow ourselves to arrive at this terrible place, then we must have done something that caused that failure. When we reach this point in our lives it simply means that we have depended upon ourselves more than we have depended upon God to guide us and lead us in the work that He desires us to go. It could also be that we have placed too much on achieving perfection and righteousness. This may indicate that we should make an adjustment of our perspective, then stop and do a self-examination of the condition of our soul on our particular terms.
Paul tells us as he is instructing us about the Lord’s supper that we need to examine ourselves. 1 Corinthians 11:28 (ESV) 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. Self-examination is very important in the business world as it is also important in our personal lives, and especially our relationship with God.
Over the years I have had numerous conversations with other Christians about how we never seem to catch up with what God is expecting of us. The origin of where this expectation comes from is very difficult for us to determine. It seems that we are experiencing exhaustion, from the fact that we are never quite sure if this is what God really wants us to do. In most situations I haven't had the right words or felt the permission to pursue this thought. We really need the permission to drill down and make further examination. Many times, I think we feel like the great writer T. S. Eliot who wrote: "The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason." We've allowed others to make the decisions on our behalf and tell us what it means to receive the love of God and be satisfied in our pursuit of that relationship with Him.
Is it easier to accept the grace of God but deny His grace in the way we live our lives?
Why do we sometimes wonder if we are out of step with what God wants for us?