One of the challenges Christians face is the “now, but not yet” reality of our salvation. We know that we have been bought by Christ, redeemed by his blood, forgiven by his grace, and set free from the power of sin. Yet we also know that we still live in a fallen world and we struggle with temptation, sin, and the daily grind of life. In our minds we know that we are declared righteous and are saints of the king, but in our emotions we are bound by our mortal bodies and sometimes battle with thoughts as varied as depression, questioning, longing, and yearning. Our hearts can grow weary and our resolve faint as we are daily on the front lines in a world under the influence of the devil.
The world has its own ways of countering the daily grind. Booze-ups, perpetual parties, and hedonistic behaviour can numb empty emotions. However, these idols are not eternally fulfilling nor are they options for those who know the redeeming truth of Jesus Christ.
As much as we know and do literally experience abundant life here and now—particularly when we fellowship with other believers—there is no denying that life can still be a struggle. So, what is the answer to the gap between what we know to be true and how we feel? How do we mitigate the negative effects of sin so that our emotions match our righteousness in Christ?
Here are some ideas:
1) Saturation in God’s word
Even if you know a lot of Scripture by heart, there is no substitute to hearing the word of God over and over and over. The lure of the world is strong (particularly in this technology-saturated age), so we must increase our dosages of Scripture intake. Having the Bible on your playlist is highly recommended.
2) Good music
Music is a powerful medium for the soul. Uplifting lyrics and tunes that bring to mind gospel truths bring refreshment and nourishment to one’s inner being. Songs that re-enforce a longing for heaven enable us to cruise through the mundane tasks of life.
3) Healthy laughter
The world is a serious place. The news is full of depressing stories and forecasts. We must deliberately limit our exposure to this and focus on encouraging one another with gifts of joy. Time is love and jovial spirits are contagious. Let’s resolve to spread the good medicine.
4) Real friendship
In a world where friends are quantified as Facebook connections, we need to reclaim deep relationships. Take the time to go on a road trip with someone you respect spiritually (and leave the smartphone at home).