(final help hints)
Once we are tested by the hardships of life, the
New Testament becomes a matter of life and death.
APATHY: Apathy is worse than depression in the sense that you no longer even enjoy
the good things you used to. YOU MUST NOW FORCE YOURSELF TO “ENJOY”
GOOD THINGS, even though it may take many minutes or hours to kick-start
your interest in them. Better a long grind and at least some enjoyment than
listless self-destruction and deteriorating health.
SUICIDE: When life becomes so painful that you wish you could end it, it is best
to just grimly ask God for either practical work in Christ (for we have all been
created in Christ to do good things) or an honorable death in Christ (saving
others). ADD “WORK OR DEATH IN CHRIST” TO YOUR FOCUSED PRAYER LIST.
Then get back to the next step in your plans or schedule. Trust God and
deliberately concentrate on your purpose in life instead of giving up and taking
matters into your own hands.
UNEMPLOYMENT OR ILLNESS: Don’t ever let unemployment (or illness) keep you from
trying to do practical, productive things with your life, whether you get paid for
these things or not. Your job is not your purpose in life. It is only a tool to help
you DO YOUR REAL JOB: obey the gospel. Pursue godly living in sickness or in
health, in poverty or plenty. Always do the best you can with whatever you’ve got
and let God alone judge your progress, for He knows your true circumstances.
TENACIOUS EVIL NATURE: After attacking your greatest personal sins and weak-
nesses, you may soon become shocked, discouraged, and ashamed to find out just
how “invincibly powerful” your evil nature and feelings really are. Why should
you fight to repent if you can’t ever win? DON’T QUIT WHEN IT SEEMS
IMPOSSIBLE. EVEN WATER CAN WEAR AWAY STONE, it just takes time
and patience. Never take No for an answer when fighting your evil self. Never
let your inner “fight” switch turn to the off position; you must always keep
stubbornly trying. The decades of your life will probably pass whatever you do...
but do you really want to grow into an old fool who disgraces God before men and
angels, controlled by evil habits? There is no such thing as a Christian who is
“excused” from repentance. (You can’t change your evil nature, but you can
eventually change your actions, and must always at least try to do so.)
BLINDING PAIN: Pain destroys strength and focus. Therefore, CONCENTRATE
DESPERATELY ON THE NEXT APPROPRIATE STEP. Be like a determined mountain
climber who focuses only on the next reachable ledge, and tries to gather enough
strength to make it there.
HOW LONG? This question really means: “Will unbearable pain ever ‘force’ me to do
evil things and disgrace God’s kingdom?” And the only real answer is to JUST
WORRY ABOUT ONE DAY’S TROUBLE AT A TIME. Keep fighting to live properly
in spite of cruel hardships, for you know very well that unworthy character is
easily “forced by circumstances” into excusing bad behavior. Instead, struggle
daily to make your character more worthy by becoming less easy to sway from the
Christian path and more determined to bear the painful cost of trying to live the
right way. And if you fall off the path, grit your teeth and get back on it again.
“You have quite enough problems to deal with
each day without also worrying about tomorrow’s
troubles, or next month’s, or next year’s. Therefore,
I tell you that it is enough to seek God with calm
determination as each day comes, and let Him take
care of your future days.”
– Matthew 6
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