Everyday life can be hard, but especially when difficult, challenging obstacles arise, how are we going to respond? While challenges are rarely easy to navigate today I want to encourage you with 25 powerful Bible verses about overcoming challenges as a child of God AND 12 practical ways to overcome challenges with faith in Christ Jesus–not in our own strength, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Life is full of difficult times. Every good story has conflict, a problem, a challenge. If there was no Sauron, Frodo taking the ring to Mordor would have been a vacation.
If there was no white whale Moby Dick is a pleasure cruise or a very boring fishing trip.
If there is no Empire, Luke Skywalker spends the rest of his life in the family business, which was basically the space-world equivalent of watching grass grow.
Conflict is an essential piece of storytelling, but conflict and challenges are rarely pleasant. They are trying and tiring because God’s plan for us isn’t to be constantly conflict, but to be at peace.
Our challenges and conflicts originate with the original conflict in the garden of Eden where Satan lied to Adam and Eve and they disobeyed God. Since then our world has been filled with conflict, negative emotions and trials.
Our conflicts don’t look like epic quests but more like a washing machine that breaks or a child with extra health needs or that one fight you keep circling around and around to in your marriage.
The final part of a good story is resolution. This doesn’t mean “And they lived happily ever after.” While the Hallmark channel may try to convince us otherwise with charming stories that always end with the small town baker and the burnt out city lawyer tying the knot and opening a doughnut shop. We know the world is full of stories that don’t wrap up nicely with a bow on top.
Sometimes the resolution isn’t that the problem is solved, but the main character is changed because of the conflict.
My own journey to chasing vibrance was sparked by challenges and changes in our life. Our family situation became really challenging when our plan of 2-3 year spacing between children was changed and God blessed us with a “surprise” baby.
When you are STILL not sleeping through the night because of baby #2 getting excited about baby #3 was hard.
On top of that I was diagnosed with Gestational diabetes early in my pregnancy which was daily pokes (by someone who hates needles!) and limited carbs (please do NOT tell a pregnant lady what to eat!). My husbands job was challenging with long hours and conflicts that led to us feeling confused, hurt, and unsafe in our current situation.
Ya’ll it was challenging.
And life gets challenging and full of changes you can curl in a ball and retreat or let the challenges of life call out courage and spiritual growth in us.
I had to EMBRACE the challenge of 3 kids 3 and under. Did I want to look back on this time with bleary eyes and frustration and just plain TIRED? No.
Everytime my little surprise baby woke me up in the middle of the night (and he did that 8+ months) I snuggled him close. I told him I cherished him. I knew that it all went fast so I focused on the sweet moments, the honor and privilege to be the one there for him.
25 Bible Verses About Overcoming Challenges with Faith
The Word of God has much encouragement and truth for those facing hard and challenging seasons. Let’s dive in together!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
Life’s challenges happen to Christ followers. That doesn’t mean that anything is wrong or God has abandoned us. Jesus tells His followers in this verse to EXPECT challenges, and invites them to take courage because of His presence and perfect work on the cross. Trouble, challenges and conflict are all part of life. But you can have peace and overcome with Jesus.
So that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. -Philippians 2:15
God calls the chid of God to a life that is blameless and pure despite the hardships that our world presents. This is how we show others how amazing God is and the peace and joy we have when we experience a personal relationship with Him.
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. -1 Corinthians 15:58
When we face hard times we may be tempted to give up and curl into a ball of emotional devastation. God reminds us to keep standing firm, because God measures in the eternal, not the temporary. Our pain is never wasted in God’s hands.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7
Life’s challenges can certainly make us anxious (just like it did for me as I shared above!). But God promises as we surrender to him with prayer and thanksgiving He will give us supernatural peace in our challenging situation.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of various kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. -James 1:2-4
When we face trials we can find joy in them remembering God’s great love for us and that He is working in our life to develop spiritual maturity and deepen our relationship with Him.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. -1Thessalonians 5:16-19
Paul gives some rapid fire reminders for the believers in Thessalonians to choose joy, to always talk to God about everything, to find things to be thankful for even when facing a major obstacle, and to be aware and attentive to the Holy Spirit and His work.
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. -1 Corinthians 10:13
Not all challenges are temptations to sin–but many a great challenge and impossible situation can tempt us to sin by doubting God’s love, care and control of the situation we are facing. But God always has a way out for us. Filling our minds with the truth through spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible reading, meditation, gathering with other believers and worship is a big part of escaping temptation.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. -Ephesians 6:10-13
Remember, the battles you are facing aren’t just physical, but spiritual battles and spiritual obstacles that take hard work in the spiritual realm to overcome. The rest of Ephesians 6 outlines how believers can put on God’s armor in our daily lives.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6
The first step in overcoming challenges is radical trust in God even if (and especially if) you don’t understand what is happening or why it’s happening.
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. -2 Corinthians 1:20
God’s promises are true and He will fulfill them to you, despite what you may feel when you are right in the middle of an enormous obstacle.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2
God wants your “everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life” (MSG) to be lived for Him and with Him. A lot of time this means we are actively choosing to see life and challenges from God’s perspective (renewing our mind) and not the way the world works or views life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7
The Holy Spirit gives us freedom from fear and helps us to be strong, loving, and make good decision in the midst of challenging situations.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3
Yes, facing challenges in our lives and faith is hard. But the writer of Hebrews gives us the ultimate reminder– LOOK TO JESUS. Fix your eyes on Him and He will give you strength and courage when the storms of life are raging.
12 Biblical Truths to Help You Overcome Challenges
Three basic things to keep in mind as we approach challenges as a Christian.
- Keep the truth in front of your eyes that Jesus is with you and for you, even in your struggle.
- Actively surrender your anxieties and control of the situation to God via journaling and regular prayers.
- Choose joy and faith in the storm.
One of my favorite passages about how to overcome challenges in the Bible is in Matthew 8:23-28.
In the story Jesus is in a boat with his disciples; it’s evening and Jesus falls alseep as they are rowing across the sea. A great wind comes up and the storm is fierce, it threatens to capsize them.
The disciples are FREAKING OUT and rightly so! Finally, they go to Jesus and wake him up begging him to save them!
“And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm.
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What you need to KNOW about how to overcome obstacles as a Christian.
You’ve got to KNOW some things about the challenge you are facing.
Jesus knows the storm is real.
It’s powerful, destructive, deadly even. Jesus never minimized the storm to the disciples and he doesn’t minimize the challenge we are going through.
Jesus is with you in your storm.
A parallel chapter in Mark tells us Jesus was curled up sleeping on a pillow in a little corner of the boat, Literally in their corner. There wasn’t a second of the storm he wasn’t there for. He was THERE. He was with them as he is with you in your storm of challenge or change.
Jesus wants us to ask for help.
In his wisdom, Jesus is present and available but not ACTIVE until the disciples ask him to save them!
There is a humility and dependence that comes from asking for help. Jesus knows we need Him, He just wants to be sure we know it too.
What a pity it would have been to have the scariest storm in the world and Jesus in your corner, but never have come to him with the problem. He wasn’t bothered by their request and he’s not by yours either.
Jesus confronts our fears.
Jesus isn’t going to leave you the same. Fear and anxiety are rampant in our society at large and also have such a strong foothold in the church.
And there are some things in life we should be afraid of (like a deadliest storm type of storm!) but I choose to not let the storm win. I choose to let my faith in Jesus win.
Jesus calms the storm.
With his breath the waters still. “…and there was a great calm.”
In the storm, lean into Jesus. He can, He will, and He IS bringing you through your storm into a great calm.
What you need to DO when you’re overcoming a challenge?
One practice that has helped me immensely when I’m facing a hard and challenging time is to use journaling to release my fears and pray over specific challenges.
1. Identify the challenge.
Find some quiet time, alone to be with your Heavenly Father. Grab your prayer journal and a pen and ask yourself: “What challenges am I facing today that feel like too much for me?” We are simply identifying the challenge in this time.
2. Journal about your challenge.
Now take the time to list out by hand all of those challenges you are facing. Whether this is three lines or three paragraphs or three pages. Fill up your page with your fears, anxieties, doubts– describe in detail your storm and your honest feelings about it.
3. Pray over your challenge.
Next, take a moment to pray over each one, surrendering it to God. When I do this I pray things like, “God I’m so worried that I’m going to say the wrong thing in this situation and someone’s going to get hurt or upset at me. Give me wisdom to know what to say and when to be quiet. Give me peace. Help me to let go of people pleasing and perfect outcomes. Surround this conversation with your grace. Amen.”
4. Claim and pray the promises of God.
If you know or can find a promise of God in Scripture that addresses that concern, you can also pray the Bible verse over your situation. Praying God’s Word is such a powerful practice! Here are 55 Powerful Promises of God that may help you find a promise to claim during your challenge or use on of the verses above that spoke to you!
You can find many of God’s promises in my Bible study 30 Days to Claiming the Promises of God and I teach a how to use Scripture journaling, speaking life, and worship to build your faith as you focus on God’s promises not on your storm.
May the God who multiplies bread and fish and stills the wild waves infuse courage in you. May your call to Him be bold and big, for He will meet you in whatever challenge you are facing.