Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Sorrow, Fear, what we have in Christ
Sorrow, Fear, What We have in Christ
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials. JAMES 1:2
Persecution was the most common trial among Jewish believers in James’s time. Today, a trial can be a number of things: the loss of a job, a divorce, trouble with our children, severe financial strain, illness or death in the family, or relational problems over which we seem to have little control. Though our trials may not seem as severe as the persecution of James’s day, note that James does not say “if” we encounter trials, but “when” we encounter trials. And when these trials come, our first strategy, according to James, is to “count it all joy.” To count, or consider, it all joy in the midst of our trials is to respond with a deliberate, intelligent appraisal of our situation. We must learn to look at our situation from God’s perspective and recognize that, though the trial is not a happy experience in itself, it is God’s way of producing something of great value. The word count means “to think in terms of the future.” James is not saying we are to rejoice over pain, but we are to rejoice because God’s purposes are being accomplished in our lives. Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening
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 only fear that God encourages in a Christian's life is the fear of God (2 Cor. 5:10–11; Heb. 10:31).
Fear of people does not come from God. The problem is that many Christians fear people more than they fear God. Their fear hinders them from pleasing God because they waste their efforts appeasing other people. Timothy was a young man, timid by nature, and probably not strong physically (1 Tim. 5:23). He knew of Paul's frequent trials and persecutions. He knew that he, too, might suffer those same persecutions. Paul reminded his young colleague that fear of others does not come from God. Fear causes us to stop and question what God has clearly told us to do. Perhaps we were confident in our obedience until persecution came; now we doubt whether we heard God correctly. Most fear is fear of the unknown. We do not know what lies ahead of us, so we become apprehensive. Our imaginations can magnify problems until they seem insurmountable. We need a sound mind to see things in proper perspective. That is why God gave us His Holy Spirit, to enable us to see things as God sees them. Fear is no excuse to disobey God. There is no reason to live in fear when you have the mighty presence of the Holy Spirit within you. Fear will enslave you, but Christ has come to set you free. Ask God to free you from any fear you are experiencing and to open your eyes. As He reveals the reality of your situation, He will enable you to continue in obedience. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Christian, pause and ponder for a moment: what a debtor you are to divine sovereignty! Consider how much you owe to His impartial love, for He gave His own Son to die for you. Consider how much you owe to His forgiving grace, that after ten thousand insults He loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to His power—how He has raised you from your death in sin; how He has preserved your spiritual life; how He has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have surrounded your path, you have been able to progress on your way. Consider what you owe to God’s immutability—though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once. You are as deep in debt as you can be to every attribute of God. To God you owe yourself and all you have. Give Him yourself as a living sacrifice, which is your “true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
This morning I read, and last night as well, notes by people whom I know who are in various states of emotional distress.
Fears of others in this world, sorrow over losses, and the forgetfulness of who they are in Christ.
I will be among the first to admit that when life hits a pothole, I don't react the right way the first time. The deep invasive nature of change at times isn't always pleasant. It's how we act and react is just how much we show the world Christ in us.
It's not easy to have the mindset of considering it all joy when life isn't going your way.
This does tie in with the next devotional part...fear. Fear of people. Fear of loss. Fear of...well that list is longer than my arm. We fear speaking out or even speaking up. We fear repercussions.
Spurgeon's list of things to consider wraps up today's thoughts. When faced with sorrow or fear...it's what we have in Christ Jesus that matters. We don't have an empty or vain hope. We don't speak our hearts out to the air that goes nowhere.
We may not even have the ability to speak what's on our hearts and minds because of how crushing the moment is. But in Christ Jesus we have an Advocate. The Holy Spirit has sealed us. Is within us. Who knows our hearts and can come up with the words to say to our Father in Heaven. Who knows what words need to come out of our mouths when the time is right to confront or speak out against sin.
Who knows sorrow as deep as Christ experienced in His separation from His Father on the cross. A Man of sorrows well acquainted with grief.
We in much of this world have never tasted relentless persecution like the Jewish people have. Going on for centuries. We are only beginning to taste the same persecution as the beginning of the Church went through. As the day draws closer for Christ to return, things are going to get worse in this world. What occurred in Sodom and Gehmorrah is what the whole world will be like. Sexual immorality will be rampant and the world will try to force its acceptance. In Revelation it is stated that the world will refuse to repent of their sexual immorality.
Our experiences now are the beginnings of the many birth pangs before Christ stands up from His Throne with but one purpose. To come and claim those who are saved in His Name. It's not always easy to look to that joyous moment when experiencing sorrows. It's not always easy to think on that in the face of sinful people who have a hatred for those who belong to Christ Jesus. It's not always the first thing that comes to mind when facing even peaceful times to keep focused on who and what we are in Christ.
Wherever you are in this moment of time, look to the Author and Perfecter of your faith. In the midst of uncertainty, pray. In the midst of fear, pray. In the midst of sorrows that wrack your soul, pray.
We have not a Savior who doesn't relate to what we are going through. Jesus has been through it all and yet did not sin.
Our fears, our anger, our rage, compares not to what God's purpose and desires are for us and this world. It's His Kingdom come, His Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.