Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Not What it Seems

Not What it Seems 

"… that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 1 PETER 1:7 

Charles V was a teenager when he became the most powerful man in Europe, and almost immediately he faced a vexing problem. What to do with Martin Luther? He summoned Luther to the city of Worms in 1521 for a hearing on his radical teaching. Luther traveled the 300 miles to Worms expecting to be condemned there and perhaps executed. The hearing was tense and emotional, but Luther’s ringing affirmation spoken that day is famous: “Here I stand,” he said, “I can do no other. God help me! Amen!” Even though Charles V was a devout Catholic, he allowed Luther to leave unharmed to continue his work. In times of stress, strain, challenge, and trouble, we have to take our stand in the truths of God’s Word. Troubling times reveal in Whom our allegiance truly lies. The psalmist said: “The Lord also will be a refuge… in times of trouble…. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion… He is (my) strength in the time of trouble…. (Psalm 9:9; 27:5; 37:39). In times of trouble, we can take our stand in Him—He never fails us. 

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing! MARTIN LUTHER
- Dr. David Jeremiah Journey Moments of Guidance in the Presence of God 

Perhaps you are familiar with the phrase "The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions".  The same can be said of incorrectly interpreting what we as Christians go through in this life. 

Certainly in many cases the difficulties we experienced are self-inflicted. It's really our own fault for them happening.  A great deal are Spiritual in nature.  When we walk with Jesus expect the enemy of God to not like it.  Expect him to seek the permission of God to mess with us...because as we read in the book of Job, he indeed does!

Often times, however, it's not Spiritual warfare against us but rather it's the Spirit attempting to change us to be more like Christ and we are fighting it due to our sin nature. 

We often fight the will of God because we like what is comfortable.  We like what is familiar.  We would rather do nothing but enjoy life rather than go through the things that would make us more sanctified. 

It's just the truth typed out. 
Nobody likes going through hard times. But as the opening verse eludes to, it's inevitable.

We come to Christ not to be left as He found us.  We came in the first place because of the recognition of the sin within us and knowing we needed what Jesus offered to fix it.

There's no person who's ever lived who's had a grave illness who wanted medicine just to keep on being terminally ill.  They put their hopes in medicine that would make them better.  

There's freedom in Christ Jesus, but it requires our giving over our rights to Him to do as He sees fit to do in our lives.  We are His workmanship.  We who are His workmanship are being changed and there's work for us to be doing that He's prepared beforehand that we would walk in them.  When we resist we cause problems for ourselves. 

Life isn't about us after coming to Christ in as much as we live for the one who saved us willingly.  We can easily find stories of people publicly declaring their life-debt towards another person who saved their life.  That they were now going to live from that day forward attempting to repay them for what they did. 

1 Peter 4:12-19  NASB "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is savedwhat will become of the godless man and the sinner? Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God are to entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right."

We can sit and sulk or we can indeed give thanks for what we are going through.  

1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."

Ephesians 5:20-21 NASB "always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ."

Now, we have God repeating Himself n saying this same thing more than once.  Giving thanks for the things we go through is as important as being thankful for the blessings of God. 

Moaning and groaning about our present condition isn't God honoring.  Willfully not obeying God isn't God honoring.  Willfully not being with other believers isn't God honoring.  Intentionally participating in sinful ways and actions isn't God honoring. 

It always, always, always finds us in a life of turning up heat until we finally agree that the Spirit of God is right. We certainly have a difficult life if we choose sin over our Savior.  In the book of Romans Paul specifically speaks concerning practiced sins.  Those we intentionally do that are quite literally in rebellion to the Word of God. Call it what it is. It's never boded well for anyone who has come to Christ yet embraced sin. It's never ever been an acceptable practice in the early Church let alone throughout the Bible for any to twist the Word of God in order to keep on sinning without repercussions.

We come to Christ, we let go of our sin nature.  We don't bring it along for the ride. 

So look at your life and what you are doing.  If you're miserable and certainly not happy, make sure first and foremost that you're living in obedience to God's will for you.  God's will is your sanctification. Your becoming more like Christ.  It isn't necessarily your comfort and ease going through life. The Bible tells us that the knowledge of God is worth more than gold. 

If things are rough, keep praying and keep persistent in obeying God.  It's for your own best interests to grow in Christ Jesus. 

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