Surviving and Thriving in Hard Times

Posted: Feb 21, 2022

We live in tough times. Disease, threats of war, exploding crime and violence, rampaging evil, rifts in society, and a church that’s reeling is the new norm. While many yearn for “getting back to normal,” none of this is going away on its own. Satan continues to take new ground; the spiritual battles are intensifying.

Many are worn out, burnt out, or ready to check out. Keeping a crazy pace may have worked (almost) in the past, but you’ll soon be a candidate for the psych ward if you think you can run on fumes for long.

Yet, the light shines brightest in the darkness. These are days of opportunity where we can reap an incredible harvest. The lukewarm in the church are being filtered out. What will remain are the hard core, committed Rogue Christians who are all-in for God. You can change the world with a church like that.

So here’s the way through.

This is the wrong time to be mired in sin. In this environment, a heavy weight of sin will take you down faster. Whether your struggle is with pornography, overeating, bitterness, a lukewarm spirit, or arrogance, get help now and do what it takes to break free. This doesn’t mean we live in perfection; we all stumble. Keep short accounts with sin and keep going.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

REST is huge. On a scale of one to ten, how’s your emotional energy level? If you’re constantly running at the bottom of the scale, stop and rest before your health forces you to.

We need more than just naps and time off. Rest of soul is a must. Rest of soul comes when we’re able to let everything go, rest in God’s presence, and receive His touches of grace. There are no shortcuts here. You must make significant investments of time alone with the Lord in silence, often. Restoration of our heart comes in silence, with Him. Ignore this to your peril.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30

Binging on pornography, food, work addiction, buying things you don’t need, and mindless entertainment are all life-draining. You will not fill your tank with these. Spending hours in front of the computer or the TV may numb you a little, but they can’t restore your heart. Focus on what’s life-giving.

Be careful with your intake of the news. Be aware of what’s happening, but don’t immerse yourself in it. Some people live in a near constant state of obsession and anxiety about current events; they’re miserable to be around. If you’ve been around someone who can’t stop talking about that stuff you know what I mean; they’re often in debate mode, trying to prove how right they are and wrong the other side is. I know plenty of people, even friends, who can’t let it go; it’s draining to be around them when they’re in that place. You probably do too. We’re not meant to carry that which we can’t control. Let God have it all. Pray consistently for these things, but don’t obsess about them. Walking around with a chip on your shoulder because events didn’t go your way or are getting darker will wear you down or turn your heart to stone with bitterness and resentment.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you
1 Peter 5:6-7

You must have an uncommon prayer life. Spend time with the Lord in the morning, and at night. Your prayer life determines and defines your spiritual power, restoration, and relationship with God.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;
Colossians 4:2

You must live in a community of other believers. We need others who we can share our struggles and stumbles with and pray with, every week. Isolated Christians won’t last long in today’s environment.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.
Proverbs 18:1

Fear will drain your heart quickly. Work at facing and resolving your fears with the help of others and the Lord. Prayer and Scripture are indispensable.

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Keep watch over your heart. Your heart is the core of who you are; your belief systems are formed there. Your heart is the well spring of your life. The Holy Spirit resides in your heart and counsels you from there. Are you empty? Drained? Irritable? Is your heart like a rock? Are you hopeless? Or are you joyful, at rest with the Lord? Do you believe you are exactly where He wants you to be? Or is something off? Are you living close to Him? Or are you faking it? Listen to what God is telling you, and take the appropriate action step as needed.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

Is there anything you need to cut out or release? Jettison anything that’s dragging you down.

Spend time in nature. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me besides still waters, He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2). Ever notice how this verse begins with “He makes me lie down…” We don’t always rest on our own, do we? Yet rest is a critical part of the Christian life. Nature is God’s gift to us; a place where we can rest with Him in the beauty of His creation. Restoration takes place there. We need restored hearts during this time. Go away alone to the mountains, beach, meadows, valleys, or wherever you can where He’s placed you.

Stay focused on the eternal. Many Christians are living distracted, choked lives these days. Be intentional about living your life for that which will bear spiritual fruit. Spending less time in entertainment or that which drains your heart and more time with that which restores you.

Prepare for war. The battles are fierce and likely to get tougher. Arm yourself with the understanding that you are a spiritual warrior, a fighter. Stay on your knees and resolve to do what it takes to persevere and overcome. Never give up; keep going and make the best of the short life God has given you.

We have 8 prayer groups available along with our support groups for men and wives. If you’re ready to get plugged in, contact us. Don’t walk your journey alone.