Common Struggles and Questions
Your spiritual journey with Jesus will have many different seasons and challenges. We wanted to offer some helpful resources for a few of the struggles and questions we know most believers encounter at some point.
Worry can be a powerful emotion and one that removes God from our thoughts or even keeps an unbeliever from coming to God. The enemy delights in getting us to look at the problem instead of God’s promises. Satan wants us to focus on feelings and circumstances over God’s love. In those hard times, Satan loves to try to draw us away from God by planting seeds of fear, anxiety and worry.
These things are actually distortions of faith. Its faith in something negative, placing trust in the dangers facing us more than in the God who loves and protects us. Don’t let those difficulties become your reality. It’s impossible to walk fully in faith while being stuck in those lies. It is in those moments when we need to give it all to Jesus and find peace and joy through trusting Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 says – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We understand that God forgives people on the basis of the sacrifice of Christ. The only requirement is that sinful people confess their sin, turn from it, and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior. Once a person has experienced the forgiveness of God, he or she is then able (and responsible) to forgive others.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
In fact, those who refuse to forgive betray the fact that they do not understand how much of their own sin they need to have forgiven. Christians should be willing to forgive people who have sinned against them. Every person has wronged God far more than they have been wronged by other people.
We have all made mistakes we regret and sinned in ways that bring us shame. Romans 8:1 is a great comfort to any believer who struggles with these feelings. It says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
We are sinners, but we are justified. We may have guilt about bad choices and shame from our past, but we have a better future. God has forgiven those sins we feel shame and regret over. We can move forward in faith knowing Jesus loves us the same now as before our sin.
Shame is an attack on your identity, which God has already redeemed and restored. You may have been fallen, but he calls you his child and fills you with his Spirit. Listen to God’s voice of conviction and correction but know that any voice that comes to you with accusation and shame is not His.
Hearing God is about taking the time to be with God and removing the distractions that can keep you from connecting. God talks to each of us differently. Sometimes through his voice but most often through His Word. He also speaks to us through teachers, impressions and circumstances.
You can measure what you are hearing against several standards. Is it consistent with Scripture? Is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart? Are godly people confirming what you are hearing? Is your heart at peace with God? The closer you get to Him the easier it is to hear His voice.
This is a difficult battle and one that Satan is using more and more to pull us away from God. Pornography, masturbation and all sexual sin at its core is about lust and is obviously unhealthy and sinful. God’s plan for sex and marriage has not changed and is still what He desires and is best for us. When we are fighting these sins, we need to change our focus and see sexual sin from the perspective of a victor forgiven by Christ rather than a helpless sinner or addict. We need to not allow shame and guilt to keep us trying to hide this sin and manage it on our own. Accountability is necessary to change our behavior and not give in to the temptation.
Our salvation means we are forgiven and justified before God but still are a work in process being made new in Christ. Being saved does not mean we will never sin again. This means that even though our salvation is secure in Christ, we can still sin and it will have an effect on our relationship with God. This is also when Satan wants to get us to question our salvation and try to discourage us hoping we will move away from God. When we fall to sin, we do not need to be “re-saved” as we do not lose our salvation but it does impact our relationship with God. So when we fall, we need to confess our sins, repent of our behaviors, and seek restoration with God.
Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches giving is over-emphasized. Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the Law in which the Israelites were to give 10 percent of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple. The New Testament does not command, or even recommend, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. There are no percentages designated in the New Testament, but it encourages gifts should be “in keeping with income”.
Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. More importantly, the New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Everything we have is because of God’s love and generosity. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of how much and where to give. Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with grace, pure motives, an attitude of worship to God and in service to the body of Christ.
We are all called to be productive and that does not necessarily mean as pastors or part of the church staff. God created us for work whether it is tending the garden or doing something else. The Bible tells us several things about work. We should serve God in our work from our hearts no matter what our job or profession. We should do our work with excellence and love those around us in the process. It also tells us God will reward our work one day. The simple story is we can reflect God to those around us no matter what we do. Our work should become part of our testimony regardless of what we do, and it should draw others to Jesus as we do it.