The Struggling Christian :: by Grant Phillips

I, for one, find living the Christian life sometimes difficult. Maybe I’m the only one. If so, shame on me, but I still admit to my struggles.

Some Christians may struggle simply because they are not leaning on Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them. They want to please the Heavenly Father, but just keep falling on their face.

Others may lean heavily on Christ and the Holy Spirit, but yet struggling seems to be an issue in their lives.

Still others may think their Christian lives are a cake walk, and those are the ones I am most concerned about.

I find myself listing three types again. Did you notice? I just can’t seem to get away from that. Things just seem to fall in threes for some reason. Nevertheless, let’s talk about this and see what is going on.

Some Christians may struggle simply because they are not leaning on Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them.

Christians basically want to please the Heavenly Father. Thankfulness abounds for the very act of God sending His only begotten Son to pay our sin debt upon a rugged Roman cross. We can’t stop there of course, because without an empty grave it would mean nothing.

Over the many years I’ve lived on this earth, I have seen many well-meaning Christians “walk the aisle” to “rededicate” their lives. Sensing emptiness and failures in their lives, they just want to please the Lord. They volunteer for this and that within the church scene, hoping this will bring comfort, but for them, it still eludes them. They work upon their emotions hoping this will bring rest to their weary souls, but it doesn’t last. They may even start a regimen of reading the Bible through, from Genesis to Revelation, but start falling to the wayside when they come upon all the “begets” in Genesis. They may even last through Exodus, but when Leviticus comes up, well, yawn, yawn and so much for that. What is wrong?

They certainly are not to be ridiculed. They are trying, and that is definitely commendable. All too often, in these cases, they miss one very important issue that is right in front of their face. It isn’t about emotions or even reading the Bible through just to say you did so. Enjoy emotions, but don’t depend upon them. Read the Bible, but with an attitude of knowing God. Don’t confine yourself to one area. Spend much time in prayer. “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Also, be silent, and listen to God. In other words, stop the activity for a minute, and let God speak to you from what you have read in His Word.

Just as parents need to spend quality time with their children, we need to spend quality time with the Lord. Sometimes we need to shut the world out for a spell, and give our full attention to Him. In this fast-paced world we live in, that is often not an easy thing to do, but it is absolutely essential in our Christian lives. We must make time.

I’m sure I have read the Bible through in its entirety many times, but I have never read it through from Genesis to Revelation, in that order. I know several who have, and it has blessed them. For me at least, it works better to slowly read certain areas, while praying and listening from the heart to the Holy Spirit’s message to me from what I have just read. How can I know my God better in what I have just read? What is He saying to me? “Be still and know that I am God …” (Psalms 46:10)

Maybe this is where these Christians are failing. Maybe not, but it’s a start. Think about it.

Others may lean heavily on Christ and the Holy Spirit, but yet struggling seems to be an issue in their lives.

Perhaps the greatest Christian in our Lord’s Church would be the Apostle Paul, although he would not think so. I think of him, and he most definitely leaned heavily upon the Lord and listened to the Holy Spirit’s guidance in his life, but he also struggled with issues in his life. Don’t think so? Read Romans 7:7-25. The greatest Apostle still wrestled with sin and temptations. Why? He was still human. He still had an old sin nature that wrestled with his new nature.

Think about this. Even Jesus, who never sinned, was tempted by Satan. I repeat. He did not sin. Matthew 4:1-11 tells us what happened. Three times Satan tempted our Lord, and three times Jesus set him straight by His own Word.

At this point you should be seeing where I’m going with Christian number two. Is it possible to truly live for Christ and still struggle with issues, sin, in our lives? The answer is “yes,” and this would be a more legitimate reason than any other.

To struggle with issues and not be effectively living for Him is not a good thing, but to be in obedience to the Lord Jesus and still struggle, is expected. Now why would I say that?

Any pastor worth his salt will tell you that when preaching upon certain subjects the forces of hell come at them. For example, when proclaiming what Satan is really like, one is attacked. When proclaiming the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, or that Jesus is the only way to the Father, or it is by grace we are saved and not of works, Satan throws all he can against us. In other words, when proclaiming the Truth of God, whatever it may be, Satan hates it. When he sees a Christian who is living for God, he wants to destroy them, or at the least, destroy their witness. It is extremely important to be dead sure however, that we are in the Lord’s will, and it is for this reason we are being attacked.

Satan is not God, but he is a master at what he does. He knows our weaknesses. He knows which buttons to push. He knows the sins in our lives we are prone to commit, and he makes them look very enticing.

As I have already said, Satan is a genius, much more so than any of us. This is why it may not be a vulnerable sin he throws our way, but something else. He may bring into our lives the death of someone we love, or problems with our children, or illnesses, or anything else he can throw at us. This is why I have been mostly using the term “issues” instead of “sins,” because it isn’t always a sin he buckles our knees with.

If you are in God’s will, be prepared to be attacked by all the forces of hell. It will come.

Still others may think their Christian lives are a cake walk, and these are the ones I am most concerned about.

I have met these people. Have you? I hope you are not one of them, because these are the hardest to reach.

Why am I most concerned for these particular ones who at least say they are Christians? I am concerned because they have all the traits of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. When reading what Jesus had to say to the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23, it isn’t pretty. He called them names such as, hypocrites, children of hell, blind guides, blind fools, blind men, blind Pharisees, like whitewashed tombs, sons of murderers, serpents, brood of vipers and murderers. WOW! I’ve often wondered if there was at least one of them who just wanted to crawl under a rock and hide after a scathing like that.

If a Christian is not struggling with issues in their life, far be it from me to immediately classify them with the scribes and Pharisees, but that doesn’t prevent me from being concerned for them. I’ll leave their classification to the Lord, but keep in mind that Jesus never indicated, or even hinted, that being one of His followers would be easy. To the contrary, He made it crystal clear that there would be suffering in the lives of anyone who followed Him.

If you think there are no issues in your life that need to be dealt with, are you sure about that? If you think all your sins are conquered, are you sure about that? I say that because it sounds to me like you are no threat to Satan, so he isn’t bothering to waste his time with you.


I think Paul said it best when the Holy Spirit had him write these words, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) My friends, we are at war. It is not a physical war, but a spiritual war. It is very real. If we, as a follower of Jesus Christ, make any effort to actually live for Him, Satan and his cronies will notice. We have picked up our sword against the evil one, and he will accept the challenge. Be prepared. Whether he attacks via our sinful nature or through other means, he will attack. Therefore, we need to put on the whole armor of God.

“13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” (Ephesians 6:13-18)

Grant Phillips