Christian Living

Certainty in the Midst of Struggle

Bryant Parsons

Any believer, truly aware of the inclinations of his heart, knows that he is prone to wander from Christ. We wage war against our flesh, satanic forces, and various worldly systems established in hostility to God. While we often see victory against these adversaries through the Spirit of Christ abiding in us, we must honestly admit that the constant fight causes us to sometimes grow weary. Our heart’s idols may overtake us, the lusts of the world entice us, and spiritual warfare time and again leave us discouraged and feeling as if we are far from the Father’s love and protection.

In the midst of our struggles we often wonder if we’re going to make it. Doubt and fear can become our closest companions. We ask ourselves…

“Am I really saved?”

“Will I keep my faith?”

“Will I abandon the Lord?”

“Will my sinful habits lead to my destruction?”

“Will the Lord deliver me?”

“I’ll never overcome this sin, so why even keep trying?”

“Does God even love me? Is he there? If so, why am I still dealing with these issues?”

The pressures of life can lead us to doubt that there is any way out, thus we grow frightened that the inevitable outcome of our struggles will be our own destruction or a failure to live a life fully pleasing to God.

When our doubts shake our confidence in Christ, we must look to the promises found in his word to renew our faith. One such promise is what Paul writes in Philippians 1:6: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” In this single verse, we learn about God’s role in bringing us to himself and causing us to persevere in Christ despite all of the evil we struggle against within and all around us. As we look at this verse we should meditate on and be encouraged by three things:

God Began the Work

Paul emphasizes the fact that the “good work” of faith did not originate with our will or effort. This is important for us to realize because we must understand that in the midst of our deepest rebellion against God, he conquered our hearts and brought about our willing submission to his truth.

If we hold to the idea that we were responsible for our salvation, then we will believe that we are responsible for keeping it. However, if we recognize that from the very beginning this was God’s work, we can rest knowing that the same God that tamed our rebellion in order to bring us into a loving relationship with him, will continue to tame it until we see him face to face. No matter what we struggle against, we can rest knowing that, by his power, we are his and he is ours. Nothing can ever change that.

God Will Bring the Work to Completion

God has produced gospel fruit in our lives and he will mature the gospel’s work in our lives so that we may bear more fruit. In Philippians 2:13, Paul teaches that God is working in us to produce good works and to do his will. God is progressively sanctifying us. There is no need to lose hope over your perpetual struggle against sin. God, by his Spirit in us, is bringing us into greater conformity to a gospel-centered life. As we earnestly seek the Lord, the Spirit of God will apply the truths of the gospel to our deepest addictions, fears and doubts.

Our Confidence is in God

Notice in the verse that Paul tells the Philippians that he is “confident” of these truths. Paul was sure that God was going to continue his work. However, the grounds for Paul’s confidence was not his own effort, nor in any other power besides the power of the true and living God. We must remember in whom we have believed. Our God is more than capable of conforming us into the image of his Son. It’s a sure bet to go all in on God’s sustaining, transformative power. His loving-kindness is unable to fail. His character is completely trustworthy.

2 thoughts on “Certainty in the Midst of Struggle

  1. Keyshana Coleman

    This is an amazing post, doubt has been a great battle of mine. So thankful for this!

  2. Tyshan Broden

    This is an excellent reminder. I struggle with this a lot.

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