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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 5, 2018

Keeping our eyes on the goal

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Do you see your calling in life as a burden to bear? For a few, God's way of life looms as an ordeal to be endured rather than an adventure to take delight in. We know there will be challenges in life, as the apostle Paul tells us: "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). That's why the apostle James exhorts us: "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (James 1:2).

But what is there about a difficult situation to rejoice in? What kind of attitude finds joy in illness, family rejection or the loss of a job?
On the surface, little in such situations seems positive. No wonder James encourages us to look at our circumstances from a different perspective and always as a positive step in our continuing adventure, the Christian life. We should look forward to the exhilaration of victory at the end of our struggle, because that is exactly what awaits a true Christian.

We rarely picture great adventure as strolling down a country lane on a summer day. Could such an outing be pleasant? Yes, but could it also pose a challenge? Hardly, unless the country lane lies in a war zone or angles up the side of the world's highest peak. The larger the potential danger and the greater the odds against accomplishment, the greater the thrill of victory.

In the same way, Christian living presents a challenge. We are locked in a struggle: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).

We are like a small army standing against great odds. The wrong influences of the world are everywhere, and we must battle against them as well as our own human nature. We must, with God’s help, fight the evil one himself-Satan the devil-who, with his legions of demons, determines to inspire us to forfeit the crown of life God has in store for us. So Jesus Christ issues us this challenge: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14).

And no matter what we experience in our Christian calling, we should never forget one thing: "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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