Why I Praise Jesus For My Struggles
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Why I Praise Jesus For My Struggles

the power to grow and the choice to give up

Why I Praise Jesus For My Struggles

Free will has never been a concept that I've easily understood. Usually, when I try to really understand something way over my head, I look it up in the dictionary (aka dictionary.com). So I did, and free will is defined as the ability to make choices that are not controlled by fate or God. Unfortunately, my brain still didn't comprehend that. It wasn't till I read a quote in the book Why I Became an Atheist that I understood free will. I know, it's ironic.

Why I Became an Atheist is a book written exactly what it sounds like it would be written for: a former Christian pastor becomes an atheist and explain why. (For the record, I'm not an atheist, I just thought it would be an interesting point of view. And it is lolz). In the first chapter of this book the former pastor, John W. Loftus, explains, through a series of events, why he decided to become an atheist. The first event was an adulterous affair he had with someone from work. He wondered, Why would God test me by allowing her to come into my life when she did if he already knew I would fail the test.

I know that's a question people ask a lot- all people. Atheists. Christians. Myself. Myself a lot. Literally, I ask God that every time I screw up. But that's when I realized I'm not a robot. God may know the exact amount of hairs on my head and the number of steps I take my whole life, but He doesn't control me. He isn't the one who fails. It's me. I fail. I sin, because I choose to, not because God made me.

I heard a sermon one time that explained, God has a plan for your life but so does Satan. Take the story of Job for example. Here we have a man who is almost perfect and recklessly follows the Lord and therefore is abundantly blessed. Satan sees that and He wants to screw it up. Satan ASKS GOD FOR PERMISSION- (yes satan is satan but he is still under God!!!), permission to test Job, to see if He will stumble. God agrees. So all of Job’s wealth and family are taken away and destroyed, but still, he praises God. God has a plan but so does Satan. Satan’s plan, in that struggle, was for Job to resent God and turn from him, but instead, Job grew immensely closer to God because of it, and God blessed him all the more. Do you see this? Our temptations aren't a way for God to cause us to fail, they are a way for us to use our free will to demonstrate our love for God by trusting him, and to grow from it.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have free will, but then again, it's because of my past mistakes that I have grown, and learned. It's because I kissed boys when I probably shouldn't have, that I've learned how to be purified through Christ. It's because I used to be so completely self-centered, that I've learned it's not about me and now my heart breaks for the world around me. It's because I used to look for acceptance in other people until it broke me, that I learned to have complete JOY in the Lord and in who he made me. It's because I used to let myself think terribly perverted things that I've learned how to have Godly thoughts on things pure and lovely. It's because of my trials, mess ups, misdeeds, temptations, failures, and sins, that I've learned to live a life more for the Kingdom of God than I did before. However, it's still not over. It's a continuous battle that can pull you from God or towards Him. My favorite C.S Lewis quote is, “My prayer is that when I die, all of hell rejoices that I am out of the fight”. Do not blame God for the temptations, it's the fight between our human sinful nature, Gods spirit within us, and the free will we have to choose which side to take, that causes us to be nearer and nearer to Him.

Similarly, sometimes I wonder why I need God. I feel like I'm doing pretty good in my life so why do I need God. Unfortunately, following those moments of strength, all of the sudden I get a text asking if I wanna meet at a random parking lot at midnight to do God-knows-what and then I realize I can't stand up to temptations on my own. God is here so that He can take our struggles. He took our temptations, He took our sins and He took away our place in hell when He died on the cross. We need Jesus.

As I think back to John Loftus’ argument, of “why would God test me if he knew I would fail.”, it makes me sad to think of all the potential that could have been. He was a pastor and from reading His book I can see how intelligent he is. What a shame that now, he completely has left Christ's love because of a temptation. That specific temptation could have brought him so much closer to the Lord if he would have simply would have asked for help, but he didn't. Instead, he gave in completely to the temptation when God was right there. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that it's easy to just ignore a temptation by asking the Lord for help because trust me, I realize it is absolutely not that easy. I am saying that the Lord us here, not always to fight our battles for us, but to fight our battle with us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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