I’m Tough, I’m Tough

Remember to cry out to your Heavenly Father

5 min

Calling for Help

I took my three-year old son Charles to the church one day. Leaving his books on the floor, he shuffled down the hall to the men’s room. When he didn’t come back right away, I decided to approach the door to investigate. I heard the little guy puttering around and singing, and I imagined him on his tiptoes trying to wash his hands. I decided to have a little fun with him and held my foot against the door so he couldn’t exit. Then I waited. The water shut off and soon I felt a little “bump” against the door. It didn’t budge.

Not readily discouraged by this set back, since the restroom door often stuck in humid weather, his voice came faintly from the other side of the room: “I’m tough, I’m tough.” He ran and slammed himself into the door. When it didn’t move, he paused, took a deep breath and cried out with an intensity that shocked me: “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad!”

He then repeated the scenario.

“I’m tough, I’m tough.” Silence. Then “thud” on the door.

The fear in his voice touched my heart and I quickly pulled open the door. As Charles realized what I had done, we laughed together.

Thinking about this event, I realized that my own reaction to life is often similar to my young son Charles’s reaction to the stubborn door. When I come up against a difficult problem, I throw all my weight against it. I say, “I’m tough, I’m tough.” Sometimes, when I give it everything I have, I find that problems give way. But there are those times when every ounce of strength I can muster, every bit of creativity at my disposal, every talent I can apply leaves me helpless with my problem. Then I remember to cry out “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaad” and my Heavenly Father’s heart is stirred by the desperation of my cry and He comes to my help. The Fatherly heart of God is tuned to my cry! “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

You won’t be long on this earth before you find out you are no match for life alone. God didn’t intend for you to try to do things supernaturally with your own natural ability, and He has a specific way for you to overcome and help others do the same.

Weapons for Battle

We live in perilous times. Spiritual warfare takes place all around us. There is a cosmic battle in the unseen realm where demons and angels struggle for the allegiance of the souls of men, women, and children. 

Spiritual conflicts play out right there in your neighborhood. Spiritual casualties result—eternity spent in the torments of hell. We are entrusted with the privilege and responsibility to be agents in this struggle. We are commissioned to be agents in the outcome of this life-and-death wrestling for souls. Everyone you know is a spiritual being. The neighbors, garbage collectors, the grocer, even the one that you pass at an intersection: each will end up in Heaven or hell. Everyone you know will live forever either in the presence of God or in the torments of hell, and we can influence their eternal destiny.


This simple message of truth, once believed and received, will secure eternal life for anyone who turns from his sin and comes to Christ. That simple message of truth is called the Gospel. It is the good news that Jesus died so that sinners can be forgiven.

So that we aren’t overwhelmed by the task of seeing a person who has no apparent understanding or interest in spiritual things, it is helpful to understand how God works. When someone comes to faith in Christ, it is a process, it is a team effort, and it is a miracle of God.

When someone comes to faith in Christ, it is a process, it is a team effort, and it is a miracle of God.

The Planned Process

God works on a timeline, drawing a person to Himself. We don’t have to guide a person in a few minutes from total ignorance or antagonism toward God and spiritual things to repentance and conversion.

We can explain that message of truth and prepare the soil of their heart and plant the seed of truth in it. We can invite them to places where that life-giving message will be explained. We can give them books or pamphlets or tapes or videos that make that message clear. We can live in such a way that makes that message attractive to them. Paul called that “adorn[ing] the doctrine” (Titus 2:10).

Yet, we must remember that God only uses us to “nudge” them one step closer because it is a process. The journey of faith is a journey of many stages, and it is God that develops those stages.

Working as a Team

God works with teams—small platoons of faithful Christians—each contributing something unique. Every Christian has a particular strength to contribute. We don’t have to do everything alone. When God begins to draw a person to Himself, He will burden someone to pray for them. He will bring circumstances to bear that make that person receptive. He will place a number of Christians in his path.

“And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours” (John 4:36–38).

“Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building” (I Corinthians 3:5–6, 8–9).

Your Unique Gift

You are not the whole team. Instead, you are one player with a simple job to do. Each person shows their special ability, often called a spiritual gift, in various ways. Some are good at building, others at organizing. Some are great with words. Some are gifted in hospitality. Some are good at making sin clear and stirring the conscience of one who is far from God.

It’s encouraging to know that you are especially gifted to do that job and to do it well. Your God-given ability is actually supernaturally empowered. These may seem like benign and simple gestures, but all put together and empowered by God, they are factors in spiritual warfare. I love the way Joe Aldrich put it:

“Bake bread, pies, cookies, or muffins. Fix garbage disposals or toilets, help people with their homes or projects, celebrate with them, and grieve with them. Done in the name of Christ, such actions become spirit-empowered weapons which are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” [Emphasis mine.]

You are “supercharged” to be effective in accomplishing God’s purpose and in His time. The battle happens in the unseen realm of the spirit, and you can whisper, “I’m tough, I’m tough” when you realize God fully equips and empowers you to accomplish your job in the fight.

Written by Ken Pierpont

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