The Value of the Daily Struggle
By Dr. D. Wayne Beeks | April 28, 2018
The other evening, I read an online article from the Miami Herald, and it touched on an important topic, religiosity. Religiosity is a term simply defined as the extent and strength of one’s religious feelings. The author of the article wrote about a recent study showing that a bigger, and more providing government leads to a decline of religiosity of the people living under that government. Stated another way, and leaving out all political implications, this study results indicated that people living under a government that more readily provides for a persons’ needs, comfort, and security will cause people to become less religious; to have lower religiosity. This was not really a new finding as there have been many related studies over the past one hundred years or so that show populations groups with higher income, higher levels of education, and “higher intelligence” tend to pole as being less religious in surveys measuring religiosity. So, does this imply Christians that are strong in their belief and walk daily with Christ are poverty stricken, live in bad neighborhoods, and are of lower intelligence?
Certainly not. While there have many studies over the years with similar findings, what these studies really point out and researchers neglect to address is the problem and the presence of man’s pride and ego. When man feels like he has all the material wealth and security he needs, when everything is going his way, he feels in control of his life; it is then he may become more likely to turn away from God and return to his depravity. Conversely, when man feels powerless over his life and surroundings he turns to God for help. Examples of this are commonly seen when people are going through serious emotional crisis such as the terminal illness and death of a loved one. They may return to God and submission to Him during the difficult time, only to wander away once again when pride and ego return, and they are again comfortable and feel in control of their lives.
Another important point brought out in a study such as this is to offer indication of whether a man is truly saved. Has he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior? Has he committed his heart wholly to God? When a man is truly saved and has accepted Jesus Christ as his savior, he will be changed from within. He will not entertain the thought of living without God in his life for the tiniest fraction of a second. It is through a man’s total and complete acceptance of Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior can he be truly saved and be given a new heart. For if he is not walking in faith every day, and God is not in him, when times are good, and he feels that false sense of power and control of his destiny, it is all but certain his innately sinful unsaved heart will return to its depravity, much as a dog returns to its vomit.
“Like a dog that returns to his vomit, is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)
With many people this becomes a repetitive cycle, seeking God in bad times, and walking away in good times. Rather fickle and short sighted as everything a man has or has had, the blessings, the opportunities, and the material wealth, all things come from God, and He alone can offer you the greatest gift of all, your eternal salvation.
“For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. To him be glory evermore.” (Romans 11:36)
Though sometimes hard to accept, there is great value in life’s struggle and hardship. Experiencing and enduring hardship can humble the most egotistical man, and because of struggle, the experience will test and grow your faith in God. God favors the humble.
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Having humility is not a weakness, and C. S. Lewis explained it wonderfully in this quote, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less.”
When times are good many may overlook the importance of keeping God number one in their lives. This was true in the days of King Solomon as much then as it is now. Solomon began to drift away from God after he was blessed with favor and riches. He began to think he knew better than God, he could survive on his own, without the presence and influence of God upon his life. God does not desire for man to remain in poverty and struggle, but He also does not desire for man to live without Him. Problems come about when the material gain and wealth lead man away from God. Man, by his nature of sin and arrogance, and by the influence of Satan, may be led to believe that when things are good, he doesn’t need God. King Solomon had great riches, and the favor of God. But when he turned his back on God, God left him to reap the destruction and ruin he brought upon himself by doing so. Even as great of a King as he may have been, without God, his pride and ego could not keep Solomon from falling. Exam yourself. Are you putting God first and including Him in all things of your life? Do you pray and give thanks when times are good for all the blessings you had received, or do you only pray in times or struggle or material desires? Do you walk with Him daily in good times and bad? Do not give way to the temptation of your ego and pride, this is but a trap of Satan. Instead walk daily with God with a position of humility and submission to Him, for he is the provider of all things, of infinite grace, and of the greatest gift all that all the wealth of the world cannot buy; the gift of your eternal salvation.