It’s a question pondered by many. Even Christians. Put another way: “If God is so good and great, then why am I not happy and my life seems off-kilter?” ◊
Christians are supposed to be happy and joyful, right? And full of peace and love.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’d say we feel pretty good about eternity, but it’s the day-to-day life that can drive us down and out. We know God loves us and we believe, but there’s still a daily struggle feeling full-blown happiness, joy, peace and love.
In fact, in our heart of hearts, we might find ourselves wondering: “If God is so good, why do I feel so bad?”
Or sad? Or mad? Even hateful? Or depressed or frustrated or scared? Or lonely and empty?
Pretty depressing. But it’s true for many people in this world. And many of them considering themselves Christians.
How Can This Be?
In fact, how can it be that God is so good and yet a Christian can feel so sad and dejected and out of sorts? Why aren’t ALL Christians living out the so-called Good News?
Have we all been deceived? How can a Christian get so derailed and undone so as to lose hope, even if it’s only intermittently? If Christianity is so great, how can a believer in God feel so uninspired, empty and lost?
At any time?
What’s wrong here? This is not how it’s supposed to be, is it? This is not quite “living in the joy of the Lord.”
4 Possible Reasons
Don’t misread me. I do believe Christ-followers all can have the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding…”
It actually is a matter of the spirit, mind, heart, and will.
Going well beyond having a bad day and struggling in life, consider any of the following 4 possible reasons that one may be less than 100% satisfied or off-kilter in their life and therefore missing God’s real peace and joy.
With each of these is a suggested solution:
- One may not really believe. – It may not be “ye of little faith” as much as it is “ye of some or no faith.” If they’re honest with themselves, this person may actually not really buy into Christianity anymore. They’re going through tired motions of faith and religion. Perhaps they just believe some parts. Doubts have crept in and their faith has been compromised. They have slowly drifted away from true Biblical faith. They say they still “believe” but actually with a few caveats. They’ve bought into a worldly gospel, or parts of it, and evolved a customized belief system that is their own version of Christianity devoid of Spirit and Truth. God is not present here. Jesus is not Lord. They are actually directing their own life.
Solution: One in this category needs to revisit Jesus (John 1:1, the 4 Gospels, the Book of Hebrews). They should recalibrate on who He is, what He said, what He did, when He came, where He came, how He lived and died and rose, how the prophets spoke of Him, and why He came. They should re-engage God at Christianity’s center point: Jesus Christ, and build back up a faith in the Larger Story of God’s plan of redemption for lost Man. Christianity is built on fact but ultimately a step of faith worthy of devotion. At all costs. That devotion should be 100%, nothing less. This belief foundation is absolutely essential for true Godly peace in this life.
- One may have a works mentality. – Many Christians may be trying too hard or feeling guilty for not doing enough. A quid pro quo gospel is works-based and minimizes God. This type of Christian thinks that if they are good or do good things then God will be good back to them. If we do this or that, then God will reward us with this bone or that bone. These Christians get very disappointed, depressed, and confused when things don’t work out. This is shallow and false teaching, though very culturally attractive, like the thinking that “God helps those who help themselves.” There’s no Scriptural basis for this. It’s fool’s gold. Yet, many have an underlying faith/works mentality that seems only right, but is actually very misguided.
Solution: One here needs to rethink their secularized theology. Revisit Christianity 101, read Romans chapters 1,2 and 3. One may not like it or think it’s unfair or intolerant, but it’s not their call. Study the Scriptures and one learns that it is not by birthright, privilege or by any act or actions of merit that we come to God and earn His favor. Man’s system of merit has no part or authority in God’s system of redemptive restoration. It is a fully-surrendered faith. Simply put: our absolute standing before God depends upon our response to Jesus as the saving grace gift of God. It is not of our doing, lest any man should boast.
- One may be living in sin. – No, not necessarily just living with another person out-of-wedlock – that’s an issue by itself – but easily co-existing with real daily, no-doubt-about-it sin. How old-fashioned(!), one might say. Well, tread carefully. It’s more serious than you may think. It’s playing with fire that will snuff out the work of the Spirit of God in one’s life. Our bodies are to be the living temple of God, housing the Spirit of God, to do the work that He desires in us. Our sin is like a dirty wall of separation that keeps us in guilt, shame, and hiding. It’s sex, drugs, and pornography. It’s envy, greed, and covetousness. It’s anger, pride, and selfishness. It’s insidious as we and everyone around us accepts it, “as long as you’re not hurting anyone.” It’s a dangerous lie that needs to be confronted and dealt with in the life of every Christian.
Solution: Remove the blinders and stop the sin immediately. Then get on one’s knees (not required, just a serious manifestation of devotion) and confess one’s sin to Jesus/God. You need no intercessor – Jesus is the ultimate High Priest who gives us direct access to God the Father (Hebrews 4:14-16). Then, as Jesus told the adulterous woman, “Go and sin no more.” There is now no condemnation for those that are in the forgiving arms of Christ Jesus. You are cleansed. Like a good hot shower. You can stand tall again, without guilt, shame or hiding. You are renewed and restored. And if you sin again, repent and cleanse yourself again. God is in the restoration business. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1) Yes, one can re-invite the Spirit of God into their heart and soul and regain their Life under the revitalized authority of the Holy Spirit.
- One may be impacted by circumstances. – Finally, for those Christians that may not have doubts of belief, are not doctrinally confused, and not mired in sin, they may still be taken out emotionally or hit hard by circumstances of or beyond their own doing. Life is difficult and dangerous – we are all subject to hardships and difficulties. There is death and tragedy. In fact, we are all eventually destined to die in these earthly bodies. In the meantime, these hard hits in areas of relationships, finances, employment, health, and societal politics, may cause one to doubt that God cares or is listening to their cries of help, pain and sorrow. Or they may cause one to want to jump in with our own action plan to self-manage. Caution. Do not act alone.
Solution: In truth, bad things happen, even to good people (see Biblical Viewpoint, So Really, Why Do Bad Things Happen?). In the life of the devoted, God by His providence brings one into situations and circumstances that sometimes only the Spirit of God understands. Do not think one’s own circumstances are strange or even random. Be grateful and thankful in all things. See them all in the hands of a loving God with a bigger plan. Difficult as it is, be clear-headed in painful trials, knowing that God is doing a work in and through us for His purposes that may never be fully clear to us in this lifetime. Let the Holy Spirit of God intercede and proceed instead with perspective and peace beyond this world.
It’s a Self-Service Offering
The net-net is that we can have the peace and joy of a Christ-following life even in the midst of a short or long life filled with highs and lows of great wins and great losses.
Our life is not the point. God is.
And it is ultimately our choice how we react to the ebb and flow of life and who we allow to direct it. Yes, a God-led/God-blessed life is available to all of us now, today, anytime.
What awaits us is real peace and joy, no matter what.
Are you living with real peace and joy?
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
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