The Bible portends the Christian life (which expressly began in the New Testament) as one that requires self-denial, hence, the definitive of every Christian facing all kinds of challenges, tribulations and hardships – at various stages in life.
Jesus Christ while addressing His disciples had said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”, John 16:33, NKJV. This statement indicates that no Christian can escape challenges. Moreover, looking at the attribute of a soldier as mentioned by Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 2:4) it is compulsory that a Christian endures hardship in order to please his/her Lord, Jesus Christ.
Why, how Christians endure hardship
According to John the Beloved the kingdom of God, since John the Baptist is about violence and only the violent takes it by force (Matthew 11:12): instructively, the violent mentioned here is not referring to being disruptive, weapon-wielding or rampaging – it is only affirming that whoever will see the kingdom of God must be ready to contend against satanic forces that are bent on causing people to fall out of right standing with God.
Meanwhile, the contention against these evil forces does not come cheap because the kingdom of darkness does not get tired (Matthew 12:43-45) instead, this dark kingdom engages in war of attrition against the kingdom of God and His children who are born-again, having accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish”, Galatians 5:16-17, NKJV.
To this end, enduring hardship, is precipitated on the fact Christians do not have the absolute freedom to live their lives as they wish for that would be tantamount to lack of submission to the Will of God, the Lordship of Christ and Leadership of the Holy Spirit (this is not bondage as some people would have you think) this is just the norm in the kingdom of God because for the will of God to manifest – the will of man must give way, whereas, the will of God is always set against the will of man so that whoever cannot succumb to the will of God will not be able to live in harmony with the Eternal-Godhead (this is a term used to present the union of God, the Father; Jesus Christ, the Son; and the Holy Spirit).
In addition, life in the kingdom of God is, most of the time, against general acceptable standards of the society for how do we explain Jesus’ teaching of ‘treating the enemies as if they were friends’ (Matthew 5:43-48) or the admonition of Apostle James for Christians to rejoice when they fall into trials? (James 1:2) – any of these can only happen through a person that is submissive to the Eternal-Godhead, and it must be clarified that this does not suggest the suspension of one’s common-sense in anyway also.
Benefits of enduring hardship as good soldier of Christ
Fortunately, the only thing in this world that has no disadvantage is salvation, that is, giving your life to Jesus Christ.
Somebody might be asking whether the challenges that one faces in this world once saved, the overruling of the will of man by the will of God, the restriction from certain things by the Holy Spirit and the need for self-denial are not all disadvantages to a Christian: these are not disadvantages in any way, rather, these are meant to safeguard the believer from slipping away from salvation into the world. Whatever challenges a Christian experiences and overcomes in this world move him/her closer to attaining the prize ahead (inheriting the kingdom of God), “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”, Philippians 3:12-14, NKJV.
Now, I must dissipate the opinion that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour means a life of mediocrity, poverty or dissociation from socialisation and technological advancement, no way! Instead, accepting Jesus Christ should be an enforcement of all things good in your life because Jesus does not erode your thinking capacity upon accepting Him into your life; He only finetunes your perspectives about life, your drive to become something and your desires for things (all to bring forth the Glory of God in the world); thus, it should be noted that a life in Jesus Christ is the best freedom that anyone can enjoy.
Would you like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour?
Then, please, pray the following prayer:
Father I am sorry for running away from your grace all these years. Today, I return to you – accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. Give me strength to carry through life my identity with you, in Jesus name I prayed. Amen.
To grow in the decision that you have just take, please, join a church by the leading of the Holy Spirit, but more importantly, read your bible daily, pray to God daily, tell about others about Jesus Christ (as often as possible) and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit in your life daily.