The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Growth Struggles & Frustrations

Temporary Deliverance: How to Interpret the Return of Old Struggles

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For thirty years, John has been owned by his addiction to alcohol.  He just can’t stop getting plastered, and his addiction has ruined his life.  One day John is sobbing alone on the floor of his ratty apartment and feeling totally overwhelmed by his own worthlessness.  He cries out to Jesus in desperation and asks Him to have His way with what’s left of John’s shattered existence.  Much to John’s shock, a miraculous feeling sweeps through his body and suddenly the constant craving for alcohol is gone.  Not only that, but the horrible depression that’s always hanging over him also vanishes.  John feels like a crushing boulder has been lifted off of him.  He’s a new man, and for two whole years life is glorious.  But then John’s circumstances take a turn for the worst and he finds himself greatly stressed.  Much to his horror, that old craving starts rearing its ugly head again and soon John finds himself in a bar getting drunk.  What happened?  Has Jesus rejected him? Read more of this post

Yearning for More Spiritual Fruits: Wrong Focus, Wrong Priorities

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)

If you really care about pleasing God, then your life will be brimming with the spiritual fruits that we find listed in Galatians 5. If there’s no harvest happening, then obviously you’re some carnal Christian who hasn’t really committed himself and maybe you should start to question the validity of your salvation. This is what we are commonly taught by the Church. It’s not always spelled out so clearly, but there’s a whole lot of hinting going on. Depending on how thick the guilt is being poured on in your particular community, getting together with the brothers can feel like one big fruit contest. Who acts the most loving? Who has the most self-control? Who seems the most joyful? Those who think they have lots of fruits in their baskets like to thrust their shiny gems in everyone’s face while those who feel like they have nothing sit there feeling like failures. Addicts who came to Jesus and weren’t instantly healed of their addictions are ashamed of how withered and barren their self-control tree looks. Souls who are intensely struggling with fear are embarrassed by their lack of peace. Souls who are burdened with chronic depression feel like failures because they have no joy in their basket. By hyper-focusing on fruits, we end up with a lot of unnecessary guilt and discouragement. Read more of this post

Making Good Ideas Go Bad: Understanding God’s Motivations

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God wants you to have problems in life. Not because He wants you to be miserable, but because problems provide a context for you to mature and develop a closer bond with Him. It’s when our lives aren’t going smoothly that we start really looking for God’s involvement in them. Problems also provide an opportunity for God to teach us more about who He is. Read more of this post

The Illusion of Bad Luck

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There is no such thing as a curse of bad luck or walking around with a dark raincloud over our heads. There are two factors which create the illusion of bad luck: God inflicting us with trials, and our own choice of emphasis. Read more of this post

Anticipating Refinement

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When you’re down, Satan tells you that you’ll never be up. When you’re up, Satan tells you that a horrible season of trials is just around the corner. Satan is a liar who can’t see one day into your future—he can only pontificate about what he would do to you if he were God. But he’s not God, and he never will be, so all of his doomsday prophecies aren’t worth a hill of beans. Read more of this post

The Evidence of Growth: Where is it hiding? (Help for Frustrated Christians)

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The desire to mature in your relationship with God does not come from you, it comes from Him. The Holy Spirit is the One who is stirring you up to long for positive internal changes which only He can make happen. But though you keep searching for some evidence of change, you don’t see anything. This is discouraging. And whenever you’re discouraged, demons show up to stomp you down even more.  Suddenly you find your mind flooded with a bunch of depressing thoughts: Read more of this post

Pleasing God When You Can’t Control Your Flesh

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“How much do you care about pleasing God? Let’s see you prove it.”

This is what Christians will say to you in the Church. This is what the New Testament writers will tell believers in their letters. But there’s a major problem with this little challenge, and it comes with those last five words:

“Let’s SEE you prove it.”

What can humans see? Can they see your soul longing for God? No. God has blinded other people from seeing the real you because He considers your soul’s response to Him to be none of their business. On this earth, He has you hidden from view inside this physical earthsuit that you drive about in. As a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit riding along in that earthsuit with you and He knows exactly how you feel about Him. But other people don’t, and it bugs them. Other Christians think that you should find their approval of your spirituality desperately important. Other Christians think they are qualified to stand in for the Holy Spirit and assess your spiritual progress for you. So when other Christians see you getting drunk again or waking up in bed with someone else’s spouse, other Christians are going to say that you obviously don’t care about God. When they see you getting that divorce or abusing your kids or beating up your wife in a fit of blind rage, they’re going to start questioning the validity of your salvation. If you listen to other people’s assessment of you, you’re going to end up drowning in shame and self-loathing and brainstorming ways to end your life. You’re going to end up turning away from the only three Beings who stay by your side when your flesh is dragging you through the moral muck: Jesus, Yahweh, and the magnificent Holy Spirit. Read more of this post

Why God Isn’t Fixing You (The Jungle Metaphor)

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Two Christians are standing in front of a dense tropical jungle. Neither of them has any experience with outdoor survival. Suddenly the Holy Spirit appears in front of them. He says, “Heaven is on the other side of this jungle. You have two choices. I can either take you there right now, or I can take you through this jungle first. If you decide to come through the jungle with Me, it will not be an easy journey, but I promise I will get you through it.” Read more of this post