Hanging Boxing Gloves“Seeing the beauty of Christ is so easy! I never have thoughts that distract, no pain that fogs, no desires for things against God. I always understand everything I read in scripture and prayer is always easy. I never experience any opposition from my own sin, from the people around me, or from spiritual forces of evil. My conscious and unconscious emotions never affect my ability to see Christ. I never forget anything about His character and I can gain skills in prayer and bible study simply by trying them one time. There are never any competing tasks, overwhelming responsibilities, or busy schedules. It’s as easy as opening my eyes! So easy!”

If that expresses your experience, then this post and all the posts with the ‘fighting for joy’ tag are not for you. However, from talking with many of you, from my own experience, and most importantly – from scripture, we know better. It is for all these reasons that we say it is a ‘fight’ for joy*. That does not mean that we have to muster the strength from within ourselves – even our fight for joy in Him is a gift of His grace. But it means that it’s messy… and that this is ok.

Consider some of the external challenges we have to seeing Christ:

  • Many things in the environment around us oppose Christ (1 John 2:16).
  • Money is deceiving & worries weigh on us (Matthew 13:22).
  • Spiritual forces of evil blind people so they can’t see Christ for who He is (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Consider some of the internal challenges we have to seeing Christ:

  • Our thoughts are not always safe (2 Corinthians 10:5)
  • We have desires for things that oppose God (Matthew 13:22)
  • Our emotions don’t always line up with what we know is real (Psalm 42:5)

Take encouragement and don’t give up, because…

  1. He is worth fighting for.  He is not a means to another end of a better marriage, better job, better health, better kids, etc.  He is better than all His gifts.
  2. You are not alone. We are journeying… fighting in this battle together.
  3. Seeking Christ is not a ‘on’ or ‘off’ issue.  It has contours, seasons, landscape, and weather.
  4. Mostly, take encouragement from the fact that, before you were ever able to even think about pursuing God, He was already the One who draws us to Himself (John 6:44), who is the source of our faith (Ephesians 2:8), and who has stepped into time and space so we can know Him better (John 1:1-4, 14).

Pursuing Christ with others is one of the greatest delights I know. It is second only to knowing Him simply for His own sake. So is there a challenge that you are facing right now as you fight for joy in Him?  Feel free to comment below or talk to me next time we’re together.  I’d love to hear.

* The phrase “fight for joy” is borrowed from John Piper’s book When I Don’t Desire GodHere is the Spanish edition of the book.  You can get a free copy of the book in English here.