ODJ: Spiritual Struggles

May 6, 2016 

READ: Hebrews 12:5-12 

He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy (Titus 3:5).

Albert Einstein may have suffered from Impostor Syndrome—the tendency for accomplished people to suspect they’re frauds. He said, “The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease.” Few among us would question Einstein’s colossal contributions to physics. If he doubted his work, where do the rest of us stand?

The flip side of Impostor Syndrome is the Dunning-Kruger effect, in which incompetent people see themselves as gifted. In other words, the clueless are clueless about their own ineptitude, while those who doubt their abilities are often among the high achievers.

A connection to our spiritual life becomes apparent here. If we’re aware of our spiritual struggles, or if we have doubts, that’s a healthy sign that we’re in the fight. It’s when we think we’re fine that we’re spiritually dead. The author of Hebrews pointed to our struggle as something positive. “Have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?” he asked (12:5). Then he noted how God disciplines and corrects those who are truly His children. “If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all” (v.8). Strong words that help us understand our need for divine correction!

Thankfully our spiritual wellbeing isn’t tied to our competence. We’re completely reliant upon God’s love and Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf. “When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us,” Paul wrote, “not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:4-5).

God is with you in your spiritual struggles. You’re no impostor!

—Tim Gustafson

365-day plan: Esther 5:1-14

Read Ephesians 2:8-10 and see what Paul wrote about the saving work of Jesus and our responsibility to serve Him.  
When you struggle spiritually, how do you react? Do you turn to Christ and other believers? Rely on your own strength? How can you tap into God’s wisdom and guidance?