"I've been a Christian for twenty-three years," Cheryl said. "I'm just not getting anywhere. I'm as weak as I was when I first accepted Christ as my Savior. I still fail. I just don't know if it's worth it." Tears streamed down her cheeks as she continued to talk about her failures. "By now I know all the right things to do, but I don't do them. Sometimes I deliberately do something mean-spirited or unkind. What kind of Christian am I?" "Probably a growing Christian," I said. We can allow our thoughts to dwell on what we haven't done, why we ought to be more spiritual, or how spiritual we ought to be after all these years in our Christian faith. That's a trick of the enemy-to make us think of our defects and shortcomings. If we focus on what we're not or what we haven't accomplished, we are allowing Satan to make advances on the battlefield of our minds.
Life is a struggle, and Satan is determined to defeat and destroy us. We don't ever reach the place where we never have to fight. But it's not just our fight. Jesus is not only with us, but He is for us. He's at our side to strengthen us and to urge us onward.
"Don't quit. Don't give up." That's the message we need to hear. I think of the words of Isaiah: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you...; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you" (Isaiah 43:1b-2).
This is God's promise. He doesn't promise to take us completely out of troubles or hardships, but He does promise to be with us as we go through them. "Fear not," He says. That's the message we need to ponder. We don't need to fear because God is with us. And when God is with us, what is there to worry about?