It’s not supposed to be easy

Bruce and Carole Haines

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 NIV)

I have memorized these verses because God gave them to me as I prayed for a theme for 2023. As I recited the memorization to my husband, the following conversation ensued.

 The word ‘straining’ struck me as very meaningful. Looking ahead can overwhelm us when we see our difficulties, it can cause anxiety; it does not often feel easy. Sometimes we may need to strain in order to see beyond our present circumstances. It reminds me of the effort it took for Zaccheus to climb the tree to see Jesus. (Luke 19:1-10) Transformation takes effort, we must climb that tree.

It’s not supposed to be easy, this transformational journey we all travel as believers. It is hard work, both in forgetting what lies behind and in straining toward what is ahead. The Apostle Paul coupled these actions together because in order to move forward we must drop the weight of the past. He has transformed us and made us new creatures in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Do we live with an expectation of acquiring comfort and rarely having to strain, or reach toward something? God is more concerned with our character than our comfort. Let us look to Jesus as our example. He was so stressed in the Garden of Gethsemane that he sweat drops of blood as he contemplated the intense suffering he was about to endure. He knew exactly what was coming. We do not know our futures, this in and of itself, causes a kind of stress and can lead to worry.

Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, is crucial in traversing the path toward our spiritual maturity. We shouldn’t expect the worst or have a pessimistic perspective; but we shouldn’t be naïve to the difficulties we will face. Growing up and growing into the image of Jesus Christ is very hard work. But nothing in life is of more value or brings more joy than becoming like Jesus. May the Lord bless you as you seek to forget what lies behind and reach forward to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you. Be blessed my dear sisters and brothers in Christ.

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Author and Creator of the series and books. You can find these at Be Blessed and encouraged in the Lord Jesus

2 thoughts on “It’s not supposed to be easy

  1. Thank you for your encouraging blogs.

    Can i ask you do you suffer daily 24/7 chronic pain. I find it difficult to apply scripture when Im in so much pain.

    Forgetting the past is what i find hard as i have a wonderful life before this started.


    Sent from Outlook for Android ________________________________


    1. I don’t suffer with chronic pain as you describe, but I follow a blog called “Singing Christ’s hope into your suffering.” Here is the link to her site.

      She is suffering with a Chronic illness and is so encouraging
      Let me know how you are doing, Nora, so I can pray for you.
      Much love,
      Carole Lynne Haines


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