The struggle is real… Don’t feel bad if you struggle in your walk with God as a Christian because the apostles of Jesus did as well. It’s all part of being human, and we can all learn from the struggles and words of the apostles.
There are twelve apostles of Jesus. They were his original primary disciples, according to the New Testament that was commissioned by Christ and became the primary teachers of His gospel message at the beginning of the Christian faith.
Beyond the original twelve, the next most important apostle was Paul, also known by his Hebrew name of Saul of Tarsus. Paul spread the teachings of Jesus, having written anywhere between 7-14 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Yet even these most dedicated of Christians, being human, suffered from the same temptations, failings, and struggles as to all today in their walk with God in their thoughts and practices toward the Christian faith.
All of the apostles struggled in various ways. Here are a few things that show even these devout Christians had to deal with their human side and work at their faith.
The Apostle Peter struggled with doubt, was impulsive and emotional. He is famously known within the Bible as denying Christ three times (Mark 14:72).
The Apostle John had a fiery temperament.
The Apostle Philip struggled with faith and was reprimanded by Jesus.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?'”
– John 14:9
The Apostle Matthew (also known as Levi) was originally a dishonest tax collector before becoming a follower of Jesus.
The Apostle Thomas is where the phrase “doubting Thomas” originated from, as he refused to believe Christ had risen from the dead until he touched Jesus’ physical wounds.
“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
– John 20:27
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. “
The Apostle Paul wrote about his struggle against sin in Romans chapter 7. Paul deduced what the problem was.
“For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.”
Paul seems to indicate that our sinful nature overrides our moral reasoning that sinful actions can be driven at a subconscious level. In essence, that we are slaves to sin, with inclinations toward actions that we don’t approve of because we are deluded by sin.
Paul calls out the struggle of a desire to do what’s right, a belief that God’s laws are excellent and a desire to adhere to them.
Paul’s struggles show us that even the apostles had to struggle against sin. It reinforces the Bible’s teaching that we are born into a sin nature and life is a struggle against it. This is more evidence that the only cure is redemption through Christ as Savior and to be cleansed through God’s grace. No matter how much we struggle, we cannot remove sin on our own, there is no work we can do apart from faith in Jesus Christ.