Friday, July 11, 2014

AT THE BREAKING POINT

Pastors have written to me expressing their concern for parishioners who are giving up. “Good, honest Christians are so overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation that it causes despair. When they can’t live up to their own expectations, when they fall back into sin, they decide to give up.”

Growing numbers of Christians are at the breaking point. Few Christians would even dare to entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus, but in despair they consider giving up on themselves.

Some ministers today preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every Christian is getting instant answers to prayer and receiving miracles; everybody is feeling good, living well; and the whole world is bright and rosy. I like to hear that kind of preaching because I really desire all those good and healthy things for God’s people. But that is not the way things are for a great number of very honest, sincere Christians.

No wonder our young people give up in defeat. They can’t live up to the image created by the religion of a carefree, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that ideal; they live with heartbreak, hour-by-hour crises, and family problems.

Paul talked about trouble: “We were pressed out of [burdened beyond] measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

Positive thinking will not make these problems go away, and “confessing” that these problems do not exist does not change a thing. What is the cure? Here are two absolutes that have brought me great comfort and help:
  • God loves me. He is a loving Father wanting only to lift us out of our weakness. 
  • It is my faith that pleases Him most. He wants me to trust Him. 
“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3).