Everyone has struggles. While others’ lives may seem easier than our own, each person’s life is plagued by pain and hardship. Some struggles are common to all people, such as the struggle to survive and make ends meet. Others are unique to us as Christians, such as the struggle to resist temptation and remain faithful under persecution. Even Jesus was not immune to these struggles. He was the Son of Man as well as the Son of God, which means He experienced all that is it to be human.
The Bible speaks of the power that struggles have to strengthen our faith. James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Peter speaks of our inheritance and says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith…may be proved genuine” (1 Peter 1:6-7).
But the Bible also speaks of the power that struggles have to weaken our faith. Jesus tells a story about a farmer who sows his seed on different types of soil. Some seed falls on rocky places. Jesus explains, “The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away” (Matthew 13:20-21).
The question is not, “Will I have struggles?” Struggles are inevitable – every person faces them, including Jesus! The question is, “How can I handle struggles in a way that strengthens my faith?” The answer is to depend on the help that God gives you rather than your own strength and wisdom.
The Holy Spirit Comforts Us
The night before His crucifixion, Jesus has dinner with His disciples and tells them that He is leaving. But He also promises to send them the Holy Spirit after He leaves. In John 14:15-26, Jesus describes three ways that the Holy Spirit comforts us:
- He is with us. Jesus says the Holy Spirit will “be with you forever…he lives with you and will be in you…I am in you” (16, 17, 20). The Holy Spirit is with us during hard times and difficult seasons. He is the presence of God in the midst of our struggles.
- He helps us. Jesus calls the Holy Spirit “Counselor” (16, 26). The Greek word (paraclete) means “one who comes alongside.” The Holy Spirit gets involved in our struggles in a helpful way. He is the power of God in the midst of our struggles.
- He reminds us of the truth. Jesus says the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (26). The Holy Spirit reminds us that Jesus will never forsake us and is coming back for us. He is the grace of God in the midst of our struggles.
We Comfort Each Other
The Holy Spirit doesn’t comfort us just for our own benefit. Rather, He comforts us so we can comfort each other. Paul says God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4). We comfort each other exactly how the Holy Spirit comforts us:
- We are with each other. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together…but let us encourage one another.” Part of the reason the church gathers weekly is to build friendships and become a constant presence in each other’s lives.
- We help each other. Paul tells us to “carry each other’s burdens” and “do good…to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:2, 10). We come alongside each other in meaningful ways and make life easier for each other.
- We remind each other of the truth. It’s easy to neglect God’s word and forget His promises during times of trouble. We keep things in perspective by reminding each other that no struggle “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
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