This topic should be fun!
When I use the word "challenge", what exactly do I mean by that? Well, Websters 1828 Dictionary says,
CHALLENGE, n. Literally, a calling, or crying out, the primary sense of many words expressing a demand, as claim. Hence appropriately,
1. A calling upon one to fight in single combat; an invitation or summons, verbal or written, to decide a controversy by a duel. Hence the letter containing the summons is also called a challenge.
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2. A claim or demand made of a right or supposed right.
There must be no challenge of superiority.
So, when I say "What verses in the Bible are challenging?" I see the word meaning in this context, "What is God "claiming" or "demanding" of us (we who have been bought with a price and owe Him our allegiance). What verses does He call us to obey and it is a struggle for us to fulfill them?
Well, which verse do I choose. I am far from perfect and struggle every day to fulfill the commands of Christ and still I fail every day. Yet I can wake every morning with thankfulness, knowing that:
Lamentations 3:21-23 "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Everyday is challenge for me to wake up with a positive outlook on life. It is very easy for me to see the negatives and feel defeated before I even get up out of bed. The verse that comes to mind the most is:
Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
Whew! This is a hard one for me. Some days are easier than others, but it can be difficult to constantly remind myself to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Sometimes the battle against the flesh and the spiritual battle we face can be overwhelming.
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So.....what things are "THJPL&GR?" Well, God's Word would be the first place to look. Here are some of my favorite verses that I've been memorizing to help with thinking on the things that He is challenging me to think on.
Joshua 1:8 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success."
Psalm 16:11 "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
Matthew 26:41 "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Galations 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."
God's Word is True, Honest, Just, Pure, Lovely, and of Good Report. There is nothing else that we could fill our minds with and think on, that would be better than His Word. The very first verse that I mentioned (Joshua 1:8) talks about meditating on His Word day and night "so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it." We have to meditate and be familiar with His Word in order to be able to do what He has called, commanded, or challenged us to do. "then you will have good success."
When we are struggling with trials that have been placed in our lives we need to claim the promises of God and find the encouragement we need in the Fortress of "Trust In Him." When we trust that He is in control and think on things that are "THJPL&GR" then we can be sure that we are inside His fortress and can see through the "positive glasses" that God will have the victory over sin and all evil one day. We are surrounded by battle flags of victory if we would claim them for ourselves.
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Psalm 34:8 "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!"
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
1 Corinthians 2:9 "But, as it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.'"
Isaiah 40:31 "but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Psalm 18:2 "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."
When we are feeling defeated, we need to think on these verses and so many others. God's challenges to us are not impossible. They are not unthinkable and unachievable. He is our strength, our shield, our refuge, our fortress, our deliverer, our rock, our guide, our leader, our Savior, our Creator, our GOD.
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
2 Corinthians 12:9 "But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."