Navigating Life’s Spiritual Obstacle Course
I recently watched part of a TV show called American Ninja Warrior . If you haven’t seen it, men and women compete for the best time through a challenging obstacle course where upper body strength is the key to success. One slip and the competitor is done until next year’s competition. The participants are volunteers seeking fame and a financial reward.
As Christians we face obstacles every day. In fact, one way of looking at life is as a spiritual obstacle course. Unfortunately many Christians really don’t understand this. Here are two questions to ask yourself to determine if you understand the role of hardships in your life.
- Are you surprised that you face hardships and challenges?
- Do you complain about hardships and challenges?
We all want to live quiet, peaceful, happy lives. There’s nothing wrong with that goal! There are times when that’s what we experience. But then, seemingly out of the blue, we run right into an obstacle. We face something difficult that challenges us physically or mentally or emotionally and spiritually. It shouldn’t surprise you when that happens. It’s part of the spiritual obstacle course called life!
When we complain about hardships it’s an admission that we don’t understand why we are going through it. We don’t get it and we don’t like it, so we ask “Why?” “Why God?” may be the most asked question of all time. Understanding why we face challenges can make them easier. If we know a challenge is from God we can accept it as within His control and for our good.
Here is a verse that demonstrates this perspective.
I am acting with great boldness toward you; have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. 2 Corinthians 7:4
How could Paul, who went through horrific hardship say he was overflowing with joy? He understood life is a spiritual obstacle course!
It makes it easier to understand why we face hardships and challenges when we know what causes them. Many people blame Satan for all hardships. That just isn’t true! Here are five sources of challenges and hardships in the spiritual obstacle course of life:
5 Sources of Hardship in the Spiritual Obstacle Course of Life
- Ourselves Galatians 6:7
- Other people Matthew 5:44
- God Hebrews 12:5-11
- General life circumstances James 1:2,12
- Our spiritual enemies 1 Peter 5:8, 1 John 2:15, Galatians 5:16
Over the next few days we’re going to take a closer look at hardships we face from these five sources. Tomorrow we’ll start with how we put obstacles in our own way!
For today, remember two things. Don’t be surprised if you face a hardship or challenge today. If you don’t, give thanks to the Lord. If you do, don’t complain about it. Ask the Father to help you through and rejoice and give thanks when you get to the other side!
See you tomorrow!
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