I received this message from a reader the other day. And I just had to share it with you because I'm a million percent positive someone else out there has felt this frustration, too.
If that's you, please read this message and realize you're not alone. Following Jesus is not the same thing as “behaving better.” It isn't behavior management but heart change. With heart change comes a transformed outlook on life. True fulfillment doesn't reside in late nights, bright lights, and loud music. Those things tend to lose their appeal. But I want to drive home the point that just “not partying” does not set anyone above those who may be “partying.” However, when you've had an encounter with Jesus and your heart no longer craves the temporary satisfactions of the world, it can be so discouraging with those we love haven't experienced that same transformation. And it can be equally as frustrating when we WANT to experience that heart change and desire change, but still find ourselves lured into old ways. So if you're feeling the weight of this in your own life or walk of faith, I have something for you:
1. Relationships, even godly relationships, may fail but God himself didn't fail. I want you to remember one thing: people, even godly people, are broken, in need of grace. We have to remember that even the most godly among us are susceptible to straying from the Lord. The best thing you can do is lift those in prayer and keep pursuing Him. If you're unsure of what to pray or how to pray, I've got a free prayer guide you can download here.
2. You're going to mess it up because you're a human. Even when you're relentlessly pursuing the Lord, there will be deserts. You will experience doubt. I can say this confidently because Jesus didn't say that you may have trouble in this life, but that you WILL have trouble in this life (John 16:33). But take heart! Because He has overcome the world. Seriously. Our present sufferings and losses are not for nothing, and praise God for His saving grace from the brokenness of this world. He didn't create the brokenness but its existence only reminds us of our desperate need for the cross. There's something beautiful in the middle of it all.
The bottom line is this: don't give up. When people let you down, when the world begs for your attention, don't give up. Anything worth having requires a little bit of fighting for. And when it comes to following Jesus in today's world, you've gotta have grit. Because if you've found life and freedom, although it comes with challenges, you are no longer a slave to Saturday night. And that, to me, trumps the struggle.