Struggles in life

The challenges and triumphs of faith

von Johannes Justus

I often hear statements like this: Life is a battle, and I only find peace when I stand victorious. The Apostle Paul also exhorts Timothy to fight.

Fight the good fight of faith. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

What did he mean by that? What was he supposed to fight for? He is talking about the fight of faith, and as in other passages of the Bible, the apostle Paul uses the sporting competition as an example. There you fight a good, fair battle with your opponent and hope to emerge victorious.

Where the new life that awakens in your heart through Jesus Christ, there it naturally comes into opposition with what has arisen anew in you, what we call the old nature, that comes out again. That is the struggle in faith.

With every new decision you make, the “one’s weaker self” comes forward and always has something to say. This is especially true in our faith life, but also in other areas of life.

There is no doubt that life can be fraught with challenges and difficulties, and it often takes effort, perseverance and determination to overcome obstacles and achieve goals. In a way, one could say that life is a constant struggle.

This is what a struggle might look like:

Struggle with doubts. Doubts about whether I can do this or that. The questions that arise can be so strong that I have to train myself to behave in a certain way. The critical questioning of one’s own faith is something quite normal. A proverb says: Doubt is like a bird – I can’t help it flying over my head.

Struggle with yourself: By this I don’t mean one’s weaker self – but rather the opposite: the inner judge who keeps telling me how I should actually be and what I could have achieved if I had tried harder and been more consistent.
Fighting temptation: I would like to move on to another discipline in the contest of faith. Here Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel, is a model for me. His relationship with his God was exemplary. His reverence for the Word of God was great. His fear of God, that is, his respect, his faithfulness to his God, gave him stability. I like to learn from such people.

How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God? Genesis 39:9

Out of loyalty to his God and his employer, Joseph refuses to sleep with Potiphar’s wife. We too are experiencing a decline in values in society. What used to be wrong is now normal. What used to be considered a sin is now acceptable and good.

But life is not all struggle.It also offers many positive experiences, joy, love, growth and fulfilment.Every person has the opportunity to shape their life in different ways and to pursue their own goals.

It is important to recognise that life also consists of periods of rest, peace and harmony.There are times when we achieve our goals, celebrate successes, build relationships and experience moments of joy and happiness.

It is helpful to have a balanced perspective on life and to recognise not only the difficulties but also the positive aspects.With a positive attitude and mindset, we can better face life’s challenges and use our experiences constructively.

What qualities do you need to win these many battles?

Discipline, clear thinking, courage, inner strength, selflessness, willingness to sacrifice.

And what qualities do you need to lose these battles?

Cowardice, lack of organisation, overconfidence, recklessness, selfishness.

These are some of the qualities you need to succeed in life’s many struggles. Here is a summary of the qualities that can help win battles and the qualities that can lead to losing battles:

I will list here just a few qualities that should help us gain clarity about how we should act better.

Qualities to win fights:

  • Discipline: The ability to control oneself, work hard and consistently work towards goals.
  • Clear thinking: The ability to think rationally, make wise decisions and find solutions to problems.
    Inner strength: The mental and emotional resilience to get through difficult times and not be discouraged by setbacks.
  • Courage: The willingness to take risks, accept challenges and assert oneself even in uncertain situations.
  • Selflessness: The ability to stand up for others, to help them and to pursue common goals.
  • Willingness to make sacrifices: The willingness to make personal sacrifices to achieve greater goals or to help others.

Traits that can lead to failure:

  • Cowardice: The fear of taking risks and facing challenges, which can lead to missed opportunities.
  • Lack of organisation: The inability to organise and prioritise effectively, which can lead to inefficient action and chaos.
  • Overconfidence: An exaggerated belief in one’s own abilities, which can lead to arrogance and recklessness.
  • Imprudent action: The lack of planning and foresight that leads to impulsive decisions that can have negative consequences.
  • Egocentrism: A self-centred way of thinking that neglects the needs and interests of others, which can lead to conflict and isolation.

However, a balanced interaction of different traits can help increase the likelihood of success in life’s struggles.

Fighting means: Reaching the goal through victories and defeats.

Let us think of competition: there are victories and defeats – that is part of it. Paul did not say: “always win” – but “fight”: The goal, eternal life, of which Paul writes, does not depend on how many victories I have won in the battle of faith. It is about taking up the “fight”, about living life as a Christian, with all the victories and defeats.

It is worthwhile not to give in to every temptation – but to courageously take up the fight against it. – Even if we humans are never infallible. But without struggle there is no victory! It can also be a good opportunity to look back with gratitude on these small and big victories.

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