To be frustrated, in its most simplest terms, means that we are not getting what we want, that things in our lives are not going the way we would like them to, or in a way that we had planned. From not being able to find our keys in the morning, to raising a child in the way that he should go, (Prov. 22:6) then watching him walk a continuous life that is displeasing to the Lord, frustration always has to do with us. No matter if it is brought upon us by others, by circumstances within ourselves, as long as it does not spill over to those around us, frustration resides only within the individual it has invaded.
Frustration is most generally brought upon us by external situations, things of the temporal and transitory that we have no real control over, and one of the first by-products of this type of frustration is despair, for we are no longer in control of the situation, the situation now controls us, and despair is what occurs when the circumstances remain out of our control for an extended period of time. One of the best analogies of this is when we get sick, when our mortal bodies are invaded by an illness, or perhaps even an accident. A broken bone will most likely heal, that cold you caught will eventually pass away, but what of those times when they don’t, what if all of those prayers that your brothers and sisters in Christ are offering to God on your behalf are answered with a “No,” from our Lord, at these times for many of us these frustrations turn into despair, at least until we are reconciled to His will.
Herein lies the main subject matter of this letter to you then, are you spiritually frustrated. I am not speaking of the frustration that comes upon us because of the sinful acts of an unrepentant world that we hear about daily, nor of those that say that they are Christians, but their words and deeds shown no sign of a risen Savior living within them, but about personal spiritual frustration. I have found from past personal experience and from some of those that I know are truly saved, that the most common experience in this area seems to be inevitably spoken of in this way, “I don’t feel as if I am doing enough for Christ.” Most generally these individuals were saved by the Grace of God at a very low point in their lives, and as the light of the truth of His salvation began to glow in their heart and souls, they were immediately transported to the mountaintop from the depths of that valley. Inevitably, as always happens, the angels rejoiced, (Luke 15:10) the demons noticed, and the battle ensued, and just one step behind frustration in this battle is doubt. Many times this frustration, at least in its initial form, can be assuaged somewhat, for if this person is informed of the cost, the price that will be required of them by our Lord in remaining obedient servants before their salvation, then the frustration will be expected, and dealt with by seeking the Holy Spirits guidance when it appears, which it will, but too many in the fellowship of believers can be too quick to just get the lost into the church, dunk them then drop them without fully explaining what these inquisitive lost souls should expect when they finally ask the Lord into their lives.
It can be quite easy to recognize those that have only repeated the words, made an emotion based decision only, for when the doubts and frustrations arrive within them over this “decision” which they have made, this time in their lives, this ‘phase they went through comes to an abrupt end, and like the second and third seeds in the parable our Lord spoke of in Matt. 13, they have heard but refused to continue, the cost was not counted. But what of us that truly are the children of God, the called of the Lord who will live in eternal bliss with Him throughout eternity, how are we to react to these frustrations when they come upon us, not the simple everyday ones that seem to plague us on an almost daily basis, and most definitely not those that will mark the beginning of our last days in this mortal shell, for all of those should be expected by us to appear, but those that reach inside of us, gain some root and continue to gnaw at us, not on a daily basis perhaps, but at least occasionally enough to bring the trial to our minds again, how are we to approach these.
Please be aware that I am not referring to temptations here, whether they remain only within the mind, or are acted upon and then become sin, nor am I addressing the burdens, the cross that our Lord commands each of us to carry daily, instead I speak of the righteousness, (1st John 2:29) the Holiness (1st Peter 1:16) that we at least should be seeking each and every moment of our lives, to be Christ-like. If you are a mature Christian you understand fully what I am referring to here, and in great humility we understand that we will never reach that point until we inhabit our glorified bodies, yet daily we strive for and are frustrated by what we might consider a wasted life, no matter how much we may see in ourselves and what others may say to us of how Christ is using us for His glory. Speaking for myself here, I will always see myself as an unprofitable to the service of the Lord and not worthy to be in His presence.
Yet let me speak now to those who are frustrated by the continuous thoughts of “I am not doing enough,” these that in a way belittle themselves for what they consider a lack of any real service, a “too small of love for Christ.” These are those that have most generally left the mountaintop and entered into the valley for the first time, and that first trek through the valley can seem O so long. Doubt, frustration and despair live there, and they are extremely well versed on how to invite the uninitiated into their abodes, their words call sweetly and directly to the core of the old man, (Rom. 6:6) that still resides within us, and those who have not been led down the proper places in Scripture will bend to their wills, and though the individual can never lose their salvation, they themselves can build a house in that valley, never seeing that there is another mountain ahead, or believing it too difficult to climb. These will spend their entire Christian lives trying to be ‘good enough,’ trying through their own designed works to become ‘better Christians,’ remaining in a place where self-imposed frustration will remain the norm.
These will try to do the opposite of what we are told in Galatians 2:21, they will continue to mingle law, whether those that are made up by themselves, or imposed upon them by a religious organization, with grace for their justification, and thereby they will frustrate not only themselves but also the grace of God, and deny, whether they realize it or not, that the full price was paid by our Lord on the Cross for all. Let me lovingly say these words to those that are still thinking this way, you are right, you are absolutely correct, you are not good enough, (Rom. 3:10) none of us ever were, there is nothing you can do to add to what has already been done, (Gal. 2:20) there is absolutely nothing you can do to repay Christ for what He did for us on that cross, (Heb. 2:12) and anything you try will be a complete waste of time. (John 15:5)
There is one answer and one answer only to forsaking frustration and replacing it with being content, (Phil. 4:11) you must submit to the will of the Holy Spirit, you must with patience listen intently to the still small voice of God, and after you have tested the spirits, (1st John 4:1) you must obey. Only through prayer and diligently seeking His will in His Word for your life will this occur, there is no other way that God has set before us. Yes, the mountain you must climb is difficult and dangerous, but that valley you are in is no place to build a house, no place to live out your life that Christ has blessed you with. We are not to live in either the valley or the mountaintop, for though on the top of the mountain we can get a little better glimpse of our home to come, nothing grows up there, it is a place of rest for a season, and the wise child of God begins the descent into the next valley with much prayer and preparation, for in the valley is where we grow, where the work is, where the battle is to be fought. If it Gods will for you to live a long life, a life that you have by your own free will chosen to one of submissive service to His will, there will be many mountaintops and many valleys, in which of these places He chooses to call you home from is in His sovereign hands, but know this my friends, it is just as difficult to leave the mountaintop for some and to re-enter the valley, as it is for some to begin the arduous task of climbing out of that valley, but I will guarantee you this, if you ask Jesus to take your hand and help you, no matter which way you are going, He will, and gladly, for He deeply loves those in whom He sees an effort to please Him and Glorify His Name.
We are pilgrims on this earth, and until that very moment when He calls us home, we must never stop on the path that Christ has set before us, your rest awaits you in heaven, not here.