Why is Serving God So Hard?

Posted on: October 23rd, 2011

Why is serving God so hard? If you doubt the difficulty of faithful service consider what Jesus says about the matter. He describes the journey to heaven as “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:14) It is far easier to ignore God and do as one pleases than it is to reach heaven. As Christ said in the same context, “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” (Matt. 7:13)

You might think the choice is obvious and easy considering what the Bible says about heaven and hell, but that’s not the issue. We can want to do what is right and best without success. For example, a drunkard may intellectually understand he needs to quit drinking, but it is still hard to do. Sadly most don’t stop drinking even though they know continuing the practice is destructive.

There is not a thing anyone can do to make a Christian’s service easy. (2 Tim. 3:12) However, if we understand and believe it is worth the cost we’ll be more likely to pay the price. (Rom. 8:18) I don’t mean to leave the impression we are without help, because God gives us strength to endure and overcome. (1 Cor. 10:13) The question is, do we have enough faith to trust in and accept God’s way.

Why is serving God so hard, because inherent difficulty comes with the territory. Satan wants our loyalty and he will do everything in his power to draw us away from Christ. (Peter 5:8) He knows the power of illicit lust and the difficulty of self-control in our lives. The devil uses our family and friends, society, and even government to test our faith. Satan is active and patient in his work to disrupt our spiritual conviction. We face the hardships of life as everyone else, and more because of our effort to please God.

Serving God is not easy because of the “unnatural” elements of Christianity. Think about this for a moment, many biblical principles and teachings go against human reason and wisdom. The Creation account of Genesis doesn’t fit with academia’s answer to origin. (Gen. 1) Man’s view of equity and justice often contradict God’s teaching. We’re told fair-minded people accept homosexuality, but God condemns it as sin. (Rom. 1:24-28) Tolerant people receive others as they are, but God calls for sinners to change. (Acts 17:30-31)

Why is serving God so hard, because we live in a world where self-interest motivates people. (3 John 9-10) Everyone wants their own “rights” upheld and defended, without any consideration of others. Freedom of speech now means people can use profanity anywhere and anytime they want. It says a woman can murder her unborn baby simply because she doesn’t want the child. Clearly selfishness and pride overrule good conduct, but God teaches us to put others before ourselves. (1 Cor. 10:24)

It is not easy serving God because of how He expects us to treat others. The Bible talks about loving family and friends, and there is not too much difficulty with that. However, we’re commanded to love our enemies, which is not natural. (Matt 5:43-48) Christians must not retaliate when mistreated, but that is exactly what we may want to do. (Rom. 12:19) We take the gospel to the lost, but some of those may be the most despicable and profane people of the world. It is just not natural to show kindness and goodness to such individuals.

Most of us think about the future and we may even do some planning, but we’re often nearsighted in the way we live. (2 Peter 1:8-10) Too many live for the moment’s satisfaction. It’s all about what feels good now or how to make life easier today. The night’s party and goodtime motivates the binge drinker, but he doesn’t worry about the consequences the next day. The adulterer is only thinking about the sexual satisfaction of the moment and not the effects on his family. God teaches us to look to the eternal future when making our daily decisions. By keeping our mind’s eye on heaven we can endure the trials and difficulties of life. (Col. 3:1-2)

Do you have unanswered questions about God, life, and eternity? (Deut. 29:29) We are inquisitive people and we want answers to our questions. A young child may ask a million whys growing up, or so it seems to parents. Scientists seek solutions to problems and they want to resolve the unknown. While there is nothing wrong with asking why, there is danger if we don’t accept our limits. We do not have all the answers, and in fact, in this life we will never have all the answers. Science cannot tell us about origin or cure every disease. Mom and dad don’t have all the answers for their children’s questions. It is hard to serve God if we’re not satisfied with the information and answers He’s given us. (2 Peter 1:3) He has told us about our creation, why we are here, and what we need to do to prepare for eternity. Do not let the whys get the better of you or lose your faith because you don’t have all the solutions.

It is hard to serve the Lord because His ways are not our ways. It is not enough to believe in god, we must accept and obey the true and living God. From the beginning of time, man has invented his own method of worship based on his personal idea of deity. We would do well to remember the prophet’s words, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.” (Isa. 55:8) God is higher and greater than us in every way. (Isa.55:9) People reject God’s plain truth about salvation or express dissatisfaction with His simple requirements because they don’t fit their ways and thoughts. Read the story of Naaman for a better understanding of this point. (2 Kings 5:1-15)

The denominational world tries to make religious service easy and non-judgmental. They confuse biblical teaching by tampering with and changing its message. Some look to denominationalism as an alternative to New Testament Christianity, and may envy the watered down version of service. It is not unlike what happened to the Jews in the Old Testament. It’s impossible to serve God when we do what is right in our own eyes apart from the Word. (Prov. 21:2) We must trust in Christ and the Bible to remain faithful. It is hard, but it’s not impossible to do what is right if our strength is the Lord.

-Terry Starling