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To win a championship; to climb a mountain; or swim the sea. There are many things to which we could say "it is not easy." Part of the challenge of life is the fact that we all face things which are not easy. If things were easy, everyone would do them. We learn that anything of value is something that we endeavor to accomplish, or seek to acquire. Holding on to that thing of value may be hard and we can certainly say that "it is not easy." Let us take some time and look at things which may appear to be easy for others, but not for ourselves. Perhaps you will find yourself being described, and if so, perhaps you will seek to correct the problems you may be struggling to overcome.

IT IS NOT EASY To apologize. We do this all the time. We wrong somebody, or they think that they have been wronged, and we seek to discard any accountability or blame. We say things that hurt others, and our pride gets in the way of saying "I'm sorry." Often, we might quickly apologize if we hinder a stranger, or get in the way of someone in the store. But when we hurt the people closest to us, it is very hard to apologize. The reason is that by doing so, we acknowledge our own guilt in whatever matter we had a problem.

IT IS NOT EASY To begin over. We may have spent most of our lives building a pathway through life, and fate or an act of stupidity brings it all crashing down. We could choose to give up let life takes us wherever, and we could end up a drunkard and a bum. Now, if we had just started and realized that we were not heading for a desired result, we could stop what we are doing and start over with relative ease. But, after working on a project a while, we reach the point of no return, and if we mess up, we try to analyze the problem and see if there is any way to rig it so that we do not have to backtrack many of our steps.
When you think about it, our life as a Christian is a constant starting over. Every time we express remorse and sorrow for sin, we ask God, and God forgives us our sins. In such a way, we start over. But we cannot continue doing this; we have to find a way to stop the sin so that we do not have to start over all the time. But it is good to know that option is available to the Christian.

IT IS NOT EASY To admit error. This is embarrassing for many people. There are many people who are really stupid on many matters and facts of knowledge. It is rare to find someone who knows they are not that brilliant and learn to manage through life in a less-complicated fashion. These are probably the most stress-free individuals among us. Our problem is the fact that we have portrayed ourselves as being the best, and error defeats such a claim.

IT IS NOT EASY To be unselfish. The few truly unselfish people among us are really, really great people. They have put aside their own desires in order to assist someone whom they consider to be less fortunate. To be unselfish is one of the greatest qualities that a Christian is supposed to display. Remember that being selfish puts one on the broad way that leads to destruction.

IT IS NOT EASY To take advice. This is a problem that many young people have. Yes, there are the older generations that also have a problem in learning new things or new ways to do something. In fact, they may have been doing something wrong for so long, that any suggestion to change lifestyle or viewpoints is rejected. Young people have a problem taking advice, because they already know everything. As long as they know everything, there is no chance that they would take advice. But sooner or later, they come to their senses and realize that such advice was accurate and they would have been better off had they taken the advice given to them. What they all seem to miss is the fact that advice is given because of concern and love.

IT IS NOT EASY To be charitable. Actually some do find it easier when they have abundance. Some people have absolutely too many clothes and possessions. When a charitable need comes up, they manage to clean out the closet of unwanted items. Remember that a word in the Bible that is translated as "Charity" is also translated as" Love". Charity should be a character trait where we should strive to improve and help others. Hospitality is another of those words that fall into this category. Notice also that many times a person will display his or her charity with bells and whistles. This is for the purpose of getting others to acknowledge how generous they are. That type of charity may help those who need it, but God is not pleased with such selfish motives.

IT IS NOT EASY To be considerate. Every action we take has an impact upon someone else. Every decision has the potential to cause damage to someone or perhaps they will benefit by our choices. All too often, we make decision with only one person that we consider; "me". Often when decisions are made, our first instinct is to ask "what's in it for me?" People make dumb decisions all the time. Some choose to drink to excess and may drive into another car with someone's family member. The result is death or injury that could never be rectified.

IT IS NOT EASY To endure success. Even if success is our goal; once we realize it, we have to maintain it. For so many, the success just feeds their lusts for power and riches. This causes them to take short-cuts or bending of the rules. When this happens, someone gets hurt. Many allow success to go to their head, and they continue doing whatever it takes (legal or not) to keep on top. Joshua was told that if he would only follow the instructions of the law that Moses had given to the people, that he would have success wherever he went. We also can have success in life without riches, power, materials, or prestige.

IT IS NOT EASY To keep on trying. Usually this is because of frustration. Thomas Edison had tried hundreds of materials for his light bulb. In all of his trials, he learned what did not work; but he kept trying, and eventually found the material that worked in the light bulb. We too need to keep trying to be the best we can be. For many, it is the effort put forth that is rewarding. To keep on trying does not always mean that you are falling short of some objective. It is the resolve we need to continue in the things we are doing.

IT IS NOT EASY To forgive and forget. As humans, we fail to turn off portions of our memories. We program ourselves to associate people with events or appearances. When someone sins, and confesses their sins; we just cannot seem to let it go especially if the sin was against us. However, when God forgives sin, He forgets it, and will remember those sins no more. Our duty is to put the sins behind us and look upward and forward toward the goal of heaven. We need to remember to thank God for forgetting our sins, and then we need to forgive ourselves. Paul seemed to have this problem as he felt horrible about what he had done to members of the Church.

IT IS NOT EASY To keep out of the rut. The thought horrifies us that we are doing things without thinking or considering what we are doing. Getting out of the rut would mean that we have to think more. We have to make the effort to get out of a routine in order to realize our worship truly is in spirit and truth.

IT IS NOT EASY To make the most of a little. Paul told the Ephesians to redeem the time. Yes, our time is running out because every one of us is racing to the grave. I am sure that everyone regrets the wasted time when they could have been studying more or teaching more. My, oh my, the wasted time when we could have been serving God, and we were just serving ourselves. Sometimes, in the home, we may not have much, but we learn to get along with what we have.

IT IS NOT EASY To maintain a high standard. How often do teams repeat their championships? Not very often, unless they maintain the high standards that got them the championships. There are always other teams that are hungry for the crown, and they seek to improve themselves so that they can win with a high standard. Living a faithful Christian life is of the highest of standards, and yet so few are seeking to maintain such a standard. But this is nothing new, is it?

IT IS NOT EASY To recognize the silver lining. Every effort has one. We often fail to see it. There is a purpose for everything that happens. Some can really see that it works out for the best. Paul told the Romans that God actually does good for those who love Him. One thing we all can do is to recognize the good that someone does and commend them for their efforts. You can encourage many by complimenting them.

There is probably a whole list of things we could put here that falls in this category. It is not easy to be a Christian, but if you are successful, it will have been worth it. Many of these traits have the potential to make us feel better about ourselves. They can also make others feel important, and more importantly, loved around you. To be genuine and good is rare in our society today. If we are going to be successful, we need to demonstrate the humility required to do these things. If we do these things, even though they might be difficult or hard, God will be pleased with our efforts.
By Carey Scott

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