06 Apr Overcoming Life’s Struggles: How the Power of Christ Can Help You Get Unstuck
At various points in our lives, we may find ourselves feeling stuck or trapped, whether it’s due to anxiety, anger, addiction, or despair. These life-dominating behaviors and emotions can be incredibly challenging to overcome, and they may leave us feeling helpless and overwhelmed. We may have tried numerous times to reconcile strained relationships, make significant changes in our lives, or break free from destructive patterns, only to experience failure again and again. Feeling trapped is an all-too-common human experience that can lead to feelings of hopelessness and frustration.
In this blog post, we will explore how the power of Christ can help you get unstuck, navigate life’s challenges more effectively, and find hope and healing even in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. By looking to Christ for guidance and strength, we can find the courage and resilience to persevere through life’s most difficult moments and emerge stronger and more grounded in our faith.
The Commonality of Feeling Stuck
The feeling of being stuck can evoke helplessness and stress. It’s frustrating to experience setbacks, whether they manifest as long lines at the airport, being caught in a snowstorm, or waiting for what seems like an eternity at a traffic light. This feeling of being trapped is so universal that it even has a name: cleithrophobia, which is the fear of being unable to leave a situation.
As humans, we are prone to feeling trapped, helpless, and broken. However, it’s crucial to remember that this is not an extraordinary circumstance; it is a shared experience. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we are reminded that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
To understand how to get unstuck, we can look to the example of Jesus and the Roman soldiers. Jesus experienced the ultimate form of entrapment on Good Friday, when he was crucified. He gave his life freely as the Son of God to suffer and die for our sins. The resurrection was coming, and Jesus used death to conquer death (John 10:18). For believers, weakness and powerlessness do not shackle us; instead, we are “crucified with Christ” in weakness and powerlessness, yet we can say, “nevertheless I live” (Galatians 2:20). With every crucifixion, there is a resurrection.
Christ’s Power and the Roman Soldiers
The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus may not have understood the theology of the resurrection, but they recognized that Christ’s power was not limited to his human form. Some of the soldiers began to realize that Jesus was the Son of God and transcended the cross on which he hung. Matthew 27:54 recounts the awe-inspiring moment when the centurion and his fellow soldiers declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Pilate and other officials had heard that Jesus predicted his death and subsequent resurrection. Throughout the Book of Matthew, Jesus made this prediction on four distinct occasions (Matthew 16:21–28; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:1-2). Sixteen heavily armed Roman soldiers guarded Jesus’ tomb. Some of these soldiers had seen the Lord crucified, and some might have even participated in his execution. They were aware of Jesus’ claim that he would rise from the dead on the third day. As Sunday approached, they would come to understand that “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).
The key to the Roman centurion’s testimony is that Jesus can never be “stuck.” He bore our sins on the cross, but death has no power over the prince of life.
How to Get Unstuck with the Power of Christ
- Recognize your helplessness without Christ.
The first step in getting unstuck is recognizing our helplessness and weakness without Christ. We must stop trying to fix ourselves. Attempting to change our circumstances or address the chaos within us on our own is futile. It’s essential to acknowledge the truth of John 15:5, “Without me, you can do nothing.” We may feel paralyzed, and unable to help ourselves, and without Christ’s help, we will remain helpless.
Embracing our helplessness without Christ allows us to fully surrender to His power and grace. In this state of surrender, we can be more receptive to the transformative work that Christ wants to do in our lives. We often try to control our circumstances and emotions, but we inevitably come up short. By admitting our inability to overcome life’s challenges alone and inviting Christ into our struggles, we open the door for Him to bring healing, guidance, and strength. This humility and dependence on Christ create a foundation for true growth and lasting change, enabling us to break free from the cycles of helplessness and despair that once held us captive.
- Rest all your hope and confidence in Christ alone.
When we feel paralyzed by anger, anxiety, addiction, or despair, we need to stop trying to fix ourselves and place our hope in Christ alone. We must examine the root of our anxieties and angers, and forsake our misplaced trust. Whether we are anxious about money, relationships, or how others treat us, we must recognize that turning to addictions or other unhealthy coping mechanisms will not provide security.
Instead, we need to stop trusting in our reputations, jobs, relationships, bank accounts, or earthly comforts, and start putting all our trust in Christ alone. Even if we lose everything, we need not despair if we are grounded in the unrelenting love of the Father, who will never leave or forsake us.
- Rejoice in the power of the Resurrection.
When the Roman officer made the profound declaration, “Truly this was the Son of God,” his insight allowed him to look beyond the brutality, suffering, and ugliness of the crucifixion. He could see something deeper, more significant in the scene that unfolded before him. Although he might not have been aware of Christ’s promise of resurrection at that time, he was able to grasp the idea that Jesus was not constrained or restricted by the nails driven through his hands and feet. Instead, it was a powerful, divine love that held Jesus to the cross, willingly sacrificing himself for all of humanity.
This love, strong enough to endure the pain of the crucifixion, is a testament to Christ’s transcendent nature. Jesus, as the Son of God, could not be bound or limited by physical suffering or even death. He was, and still is, greater and more powerful than any challenge or difficulty that we may face in our lives. Through Christ’s resurrection, we now understand that He is truly transcendent – He is far greater than our earthly problems and struggles.
As believers, we can find comfort in knowing that the same divine love that held Jesus on the cross is extended to us. No matter what trials we encounter, we can trust in the power of Christ’s love and His transcendent nature to carry us through the most trying times. In our darkest moments, when we feel weighed down by the burdens of life, we can turn to Jesus, who has conquered sin, death, and the devil through His sacrifice and resurrection.
Not only can we find solace in Christ’s transcendent love, but we can also draw strength and inspiration from it. As we walk through life, facing various challenges and obstacles, we can remember that Jesus, the Son of God, has demonstrated His love for us in the most powerful way possible – through His selfless sacrifice on the cross. By embracing this love and recognizing Christ’s transcendent nature, we can overcome our problems and grow closer to Him in our faith journey.
Christus Victor and the Promise of Freedom
The concept of “Christus Victor” highlights the idea that Christ triumphed over sin, death, and the devil through his death and resurrection. This theological perspective emphasizes the victory of Christ, which in turn liberates humanity from the power of sin and spiritual bondage.
In light of the “Christus Victor” theme, we can find hope in knowing that the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb ultimately witnessed the greatest battle in history: Jesus vs. Death. Death had no chance! The grave could not hold Jesus, and the soldiers’ weapons and the seal of the Roman governor could not contain the One Who conquered death.
As children of God, we must not remain stuck in the grave of sin and confusion. Instead, we must rest in Christ and apply His promises to our situations. We are not stuck; our circumstances are designed to conform us to the image of Christ. By recognizing our helplessness without Him, resting our hope and confidence in Christ alone, and rejoicing in the power of the Resurrection, we can overcome life’s struggles and truly experience the freedom that “Christus Victor” promises.
A Note on Christus Victor
Christus Victor is a view of the atonement that focuses on the victory of Christ over the forces of evil, sin, and death. It emphasizes the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemptive work, highlighting the transformative implications of His victory for all of creation. Conversely, Penal Substitutionary Atonement is another atonement doctrine that explains that Christ took upon Himself the punishment for human sin, thus satisfying God’s wrath and allowing for the forgiveness and reconciliation of humanity with God. Penal substitutionary atonement emphasizes the legal and moral aspects of sin and its consequences, with Christ’s sacrifice being the means by which humanity is redeemed.
Some view Christus Victor and penal substitutionary atonement as competing theories of atonement, believing that they present contradictory understandings of the nature and purpose of Christ’s work on the cross. However, it is essential to recognize that these theories are not mutually exclusive, but rather offer different perspectives on the multifaceted and complex nature of Christ’s atonement.
The Kaleidoscope view of atonement is one approach that seeks to harmonize these different theories, acknowledging that each offers unique insights into the richness and depth of Christ’s redemptive work. According to this perspective, the various atonement theories are like the different colors and patterns seen in a kaleidoscope – each contributes to the overall picture, and together they form a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the atonement.
By embracing both Christus Victor and penal substitutionary atonement, along with other atonement theories, we can gain a more complete appreciation of the vastness of Christ’s sacrifice and the incredible love of God demonstrated through His redemptive plan. Rather than pitting these theories against each other, we can recognize that each offers a valuable perspective on different aspects of the atonement, deepening our understanding of God’s grace and the transformative power of Christ’s victory over sin and death.
Sermon & Sandwiches
- “I was reading this interesting blog post about overcoming life’s struggles through the power of Christ. It made me think about our own challenges. How do you think we can apply these teachings to our current situation?”
- “The post mentioned the importance of recognizing our helplessness without Christ. Can you think of a time when you felt helpless and how turning to Christ helped you through that situation?”
- “In the blog post, it talked about resting our hope and confidence in Christ alone. What are some areas in our lives where we can shift our trust from earthly things to Christ?”
- “The Roman centurion in the story recognized Jesus as the Son of God. It’s fascinating how our perspectives can change when we truly see who Jesus is. How has your understanding of Jesus grown since we’ve been together?”
- “I’ve been reflecting on how the power of Christ’s resurrection can help us in our daily lives. Can you share an experience when you felt the power of the Resurrection in your life? How did it impact your faith?”
- “The concept of ‘Christus Victor’ emphasizes the victory of Christ over sin, death, and the devil. How have you seen the victory of Christ play out in your life or the lives of those around you?”
- “In light of the teachings from the blog post, how can we, as a couple, better rely on Christ to help us overcome the struggles and challenges we face together?”
- “It’s important to share our faith with our children. What are some ways we can teach them about the power of Christ and how it can help them overcome their struggles as they grow up?”
- “The post also talked about the importance of rejoicing in the power of the Resurrection. How can we incorporate gratitude and rejoicing into our daily lives and our relationship?”
- “Let’s share some moments when we’ve felt stuck and how Christ has helped us overcome those challenges. It’s always inspiring to see how God works in our lives.”
The Daily Devotion
Monday: Reflect on Your Struggles
Spend 15-20 minutes reflecting on your life’s struggles and how they have impacted you. Write down specific challenges, emotions, and behaviors that have caused you to feel stuck or trapped. Consider how these struggles have affected your faith and relationships.
Tuesday: Study Scripture on Overcoming Struggles
Read and meditate on the following Bible passages: 1 Corinthians 10:13, John 10:18, Galatians 2:20, John 15:5, and Matthew 27:54. Write down any insights or thoughts you gain from these passages about overcoming struggles through the power of Christ.
Wednesday: Identify Areas of Helplessness
Identify areas in your life where you feel helpless or weak without Christ. Reflect on past attempts to fix these situations on your own and the outcomes. Write down the steps you can take to fully surrender these areas to Christ, inviting Him to bring healing and transformation.
Thursday: Shift Your Trust to Christ
Examine areas of your life where you have placed your trust in earthly things (e.g., relationships, job, finances). Consider how this misplaced trust has contributed to your feelings of being stuck. Write down specific ways you can shift your trust from these areas to Christ alone, relying on His love and promises.
Friday: Rejoice in the Power of the Resurrection
Spend time reflecting on the Resurrection and the victory of Christ over sin and death. Write down how this power can help you overcome the struggles you identified earlier in the week. Consider how you can incorporate gratitude and rejoicing in the Resurrection into your daily life as a source of strength and hope.
As parents, it’s important to teach our children about the power of Christ and how it can help them overcome life’s challenges. This discussion guide is designed to help parents explain these essential truths to their kids in an age-appropriate and understandable way. It includes questions and activities that can be adapted to various ages and developmental levels.
- Feeling Stuck: Explain to your child that sometimes we all feel stuck or trapped in different situations or by our emotions. Use examples like being stuck in traffic or feeling trapped when they are scared or upset.
- Question: Can you think of a time when you felt stuck or trapped? How did it make you feel?
- Activity: Have your child draw a picture of a situation where they felt stuck and discuss how they overcame it.
- Jesus Overcomes Struggles: Share the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, emphasizing that He overcame the ultimate struggle (death) to help us with our struggles.
- Question: How do you think Jesus can help us when we feel stuck or trapped?
- Activity: Together, read a child-friendly Bible passage about Jesus overcoming struggles (e.g., Matthew 27:54 or John 10:18) and discuss what it means.
- Admitting We Need Help: Explain to your child that we can’t fix everything on our own and that it’s okay to ask for help, especially from Jesus.
- Question: Can you think of a time when you needed help? Who did you ask for help?
- Activity: Role-play a situation where your child needs help and practice asking Jesus for assistance.
- Trusting in Jesus: Discuss the importance of trusting Jesus with our problems and believing that He can help us through difficult times.
- Question: What does it mean to trust Jesus? How can we show that we trust Him?
- Activity: Create a “Trust in Jesus” jar where your child can write down their worries or struggles and place them in the jar as a symbol of giving them to Jesus.
- Celebrating Jesus’ Victory: Explain that Jesus’ resurrection is a reason for joy and hope because it means that He has the power to help us overcome any struggle.
- Question: Why is Jesus’ resurrection important? How can it give us hope?
- Activity: Make resurrection-themed crafts or decorations to celebrate Jesus’ victory and remind your child of His power to help them overcome struggles.
Conclusion: Teaching our children about the power of Christ can provide them with a strong foundation for navigating life’s challenges. By using this discussion guide, parents can foster a deeper understanding of these essential truths and empower their children to rely on Christ’s strength and love in difficult times.