Our daily lives are constantly filled with many struggles. These struggles sometimes pose a difficulty to whoever is facing them. There are many things that can be seen as examples of these struggles being talked about. Those who excel in these struggles do not just attain that height; they do that through a sincere and untiring effort. It is not just the case of bread and cheese; rather it is built on hard work. Every day of our lives, we are faced with nothing but the need to survive, to be happy, to be good, and also the need to do greater things in whatever field we find ourselves. This can be seen as the essence of our existence since it is rare to see a human being who does not fall into any of the categories mentioned above. With this in mind, we begin to ask many questions in search of answers that may not be out there in the world. Some of these questions are: What must I do to be happy? Why are my brothers, peers, or friends progressing while I am retrogressing? What steps should I take to be successful in life? What should I do to be seen as a good person by others? The answers to these questions could better be answered by whoever sits down to ponder so hard on them. These questions sometimes occupy our minds as we move on in life and it differs from one person to another or from a group of people to another group.
Having mentioned above how the different mind-occupying questions differ from one group to another, I will like to narrow down my perspective to the Christian life, a life I will like to describe as worth living for those who really know what it means to be a Christian. Some others that do not fall into this group are what I may call nominal Christians (those that bear the name but do not meet the requirements of being Christians). Christian life, in the real sense of it is not easy but we are left with an option either to live it the way we should or live it the way we want. Both are different because they refer to the narrow and wide ways respectively as can be seen below:
Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Mt 7:13-14.
As Christians, we are called to live a holy life in the imitation of Christ who we are trying to live as he lived. We do this through our different individual and sincere efforts. We are called to attain a height of holiness as Christians. Saint Peter in his letter to the Christians addressed it thus:
Your minds then must be sober and ready for action; put all your hope in the grace brought to you by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Do not allow yourselves to be shaped by the passions of your old ignorance, but as obedient children, be yourselves holy in all your activity, after the Holy One who calls us, since scripture says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ 1 Pet. 1:13-16.
As Christians, all we need do is to be ‘set apart’ from the world unto the Lord. We need to live our lives according to God’s standards, not the world’s. God is calling us to be distinct from the world. 1 Pet. 2:9 describes Christians as ‘a holy nation.’ It is an indubitable fact that we are separated from the world, and as such, we need to live out that reality in our everyday lives.
Now, going back to what was said earlier about our everyday lives being filled with struggles, these for us, Christians are struggles to live out our lives following the Christian way. These daily struggles can come in different ways. It can be the struggle either to be holy, to abstain from anything called sin, to overcome our daily temptations, to live a prayerful life, to be a saint etc. These daily struggles of ours can be seen clearly when the two natures in us dispute over any of these mentioned above. Most times, we give room to the flesh (in order to be satisfied with ourselves or to get the pleasure we want) and try as much as we can to subdue the Spirit of God living in us. We do this most times in order to satisfy the rulings of our flesh and forget the way that we are supposed to live as Christians.
As Christians, we must not always do what pleases us because most times, that does more harm than good in the sense that it does not lead us to salvation. We must always have this in mind, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it.’ Mt. 16:24-25.
With this in mind, we, Christians should not place the pleasures of this life before God because when we do so, all we may get as a reward is eternal damnation rather than eternal life. If we live our Christian lives the way we ought to, then we will see ourselves saying like Saint Paul,
‘I have fought the good fight to the end; I have run the race to the finish; I have kept the faith; all there is to come for me now is the crown of uprightness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that Day; and not only to me but to all those who have longed for his appearing.’ 2 Tim. 4:7-8.