For truly, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and you know. (1 Thes 3:4)
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Walking the Christian path will be met with obstacles almost daily. Sure, we have a few good ones, generally when we become complacent in our journey. Matthew Henry writes "If the devil cannot hinder ministers from labouring in the word and doctrine, he will, if possible, hinder the success of their labours. No one would willingly labour in vain. It is the will and purpose of God, that we enter into his kingdom through many afflictions."
We are given the opportunity to spread the word of God everywhere we go. Our actions (as we already know) speak louder than words. We must be important if Satan keeps trying to distract us, to get in our way, to bring us down! I always looked at it as a punishment for past wrongs. I know now that I am forgiven for those sins simply because acknowledged I was wrong and asked for forgiveness. The "lost" wander around in their own "stuff" - some of it good, some of it not so good. But I wouldn't trade places with them, not for all their worldly possessions! The question I frequently asked was "why, Lord?" The answer was generally the same - "why not?" Every time I resign myself to spend the day in prayer, something seems to get in my way. It's almost as if the devil is waiting for me to walk through the gate that separates my den from the rest of the house with the cup of coffee in hand. No sooner do I sit down and open the Bible when the distractions begin. The phone rings, someone comes to the door (which almost never happens, so when it does, I'm amazed), or I get a text message from someone. Before long, I've wasted precious time I was planning on spending with the Lord. Satan has succeeded in hindering the "success of my labors", but he has not won! When things begin to look really bleak for him, he throws objects of desire at me. That's where knowing what is of God and what is of Satan is important.
God has specific guidelines for us to follow. We can ensure the success (not the comfort) of this life by practicing them. Coming from the generation of "free love", I'm here to tell you - it's not free! It has a price, just like anything else in this life. The question you need to ask yourself is: "what will this cost me?" If the answer is "nothing" - then it's "of God". God's gifts don't carry price tags. They come to us and are given to us freely; not because we deserve it, but because we are loved and we are his. The price was not discounted, the purchaser paid a very high price for those gifts. God may be in the "fix-it" business, but we aren't! We cannot "fix" something in the hopes it will fit into our lives. The only thing we can fix is our relationship with HIM! We can make it better simply by turning to him in praise and thanksgiving, just as we do in our time of need. Jesus is asking for your devotion and dedication all the time, not just when it's convenient for you. Give him what rightfully belongs to him! Give him your life! After all, he gave his for you!