2024-05-16
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Since becoming a Christian, most people have faced many challenges to their faith. In fact, one of the most significant challenges most Christians face after giving their life to Christ is navigating tricky family relationships. For example, for some people, when their parents found out they had become a Christian, they were upset. Perhaps they wanted them to maintain the family religion, and when they refused, this culminated in several verbal attacks and fights. Two years into this turbulent relationship, their parents threw them out, causing them to drop out of school and find a job.

However, due to the support of loved ones and friends, they were able to get through that challenging time. Although this is one of the most severe examples of a challenge people have to face after becoming a Christian, saying they're no strangers to challenges and trials to test their faith is an understatement. The spiritual life of a Christian has its share of ups and downs, and sometimes, life is so challenging that it's hard to have faith. Jesus helps us define faith in Matthew 17:20, saying that all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed, and anything is possible. Still, when life throws several curveballs, it's challenging to believe that God is for us and wants what's best for us.

It's easy to get dejected and down during these times, but what helps us to become more spiritually mature is turning towards God during difficult times and not turning away from God. Here are some ways to strengthen your faith during challenging times.

Be Part of a Community

One of the best reminders to strengthen your faith is to encompass yourself with other like-minded sisters and brothers in Christ. As previously mentioned, turbulent family relationships can test our faith at the beginning of our faith journeys. If it weren't for the church family's prayers, love, and support, most people wouldn't survive those trials. Community allows us to see the tangible expressions of Christ in our lives. In challenging times, they'll flood you with gifts, cards, and people saying they're praying for you. Additionally, a family in the church can learn about your situation and offer to let you stay with them in their home if you need it, which allows you to move forward with your life goals, like graduating from college. If it weren't for your church family's support and love, you wouldn't be where you are today.

We're not meant to go through life alone. God Himself exists in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. From the apostles to Adam and Eve, no one in the Bible does life alone. Therefore, finding a local church and attending church regularly is essential. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to give up the habit of meeting together. Instead, we should encourage each other. Being within a community with other believers will help us get through challenging times. Above all, it reminds us that we're not alone and everyone is going through the same issues.

Pray

Praying sounds like an easy fix, but prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have when our faith is being tested. The devil wants to tempt us to reject God and not pray. He may use our sadness or anger as a weapon to keep us from being intimate with God. However, it's in those trials that God wants to be present with us the most. God desires to walk with us daily in our lives. Even if we're mad at God because of our situation, sometimes the only thing that can get us out of bed is to know that we're praying to the One who can fix the situation. This might be counterintuitive, but prayer is the only productive thing we can do during challenging times. Pour out your feelings and heart to God, and let the Holy Spirit heal your broken wounds. God wants to be with us in our trials, but we have to let Him in.

Remember God's Promises

In the Old Testament, people stacked rocks along their path as a memorial to remember what God had done. As people walked down the path and saw the rocks, they would remember that God was with them, as we read in Joshua 4. Take a moment and remember all the ways God has been with you in your life. If you can't remember, ask God to remind you of the minor and large ways He has been with you. Are there times when God showed up in ways you would never imagine? When our faith is being tested, it's essential to remember all the ways God is with us. Not only will it remind us that we're not alone, but we'll know that God can be at work when we don't see Him or feel His presence.

Love Others

In challenging times, looking inward and becoming selfish is easy because it's easy to focus on our circumstances and difficulties. However, the antidote to selfishness is focusing on others. Think about people who may have it worse than you. Are there people who are dealing with even worse circumstances? If you're unsure, look through your social media feed. There are always people dealing with worse challenges than you. You might be having financial issues, but consider the person who's suffering from cancer. The unbearable pain might be, at times, more than they can bear. In what way can you be a witness to them and show them the love of God? When we remove the focus from ourselves and put it on someone else in need, not only does it feed our soul, but it also helps us be the tangible expressions of Jesus that others are to us.

Challenging times are never easy, but when we live in community, remember all the ways that God has been faithful, take the focus off ourselves and love others, we find that challenges become much more bearable. Not only this but at the end of the challenge, we become more spiritually mature and show the fruit of the Spirit through the Christlike character God wants for us.

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