Saturday, May 27, 2023

Not Uncommon

Not Uncommon 
by David Brenneman 

"For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us, you also joining in helping us through your prayers, so that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the favor bestowed on us through the prayers of many." 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NASB 

We're in very good company when afflictions arise in our lives when our focus is to live Godly in Christ Jesus. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NASB 

It's interesting how so many think that struggles are to be alien to the Christian life.  That victory over seen things is to be a daily occurrence before we even get to those days of our lives. 

Paul wrote of his struggles. There is great purpose in our struggling.  Paul, and as a writer myself I can see it, restrained himself from too many heavy details in relaying his feelings about the Corinthians.  He really fought seeing them a third time.  Paul didn't have it easy in the life in Christ that he lead.  If even he spoke of despairing of life itself how harsh was it?

We often miss out on what God's workmanship is in our lives by praying for a bailout.  By convincing ourselves that there is going to be nothing but good in our future.  We are promised sufferings to come, it's evidenced in Paul's writing especially that THAT is exactly true.

Doesn't nature itself show us that struggles are what cause really strong trees to be established for hundreds of years?  

The putting on of Christ after our putting off of self has more to it than a simple changing of clothes.  

Our walk in Christ Jesus is not going to be all sunshine and rainbows. It certainly was not for Paul.  We are told through King David's writings in the book of Psalms that sufferings and painful moments of life are normal to those who strive to live Godly in Christ Jesus even before Paul wrote about it.

People being critical of you?  You're in good company. People being excessively critical of you? Same. The onus is on us to make sure we are living Godly in Christ Jesus and those who are being such towards us will have no grounds to stand upon. 

Consider it as well, my Friend, the reasoning behind the whole armor of God. 
It's not exactly casual wear.  It's not for entertainment purposes. It is not a jogging outfit.  Not what you might wear for camping.  Doesn't even come close to business casual either.  It's got a purpose and only one purpose. To protect the Believer in wartime which is every single day we are physically alive.  We will only take off such garments when we shed this physical body and enter the gates of Heaven. 

I have often wished for time travel. Probably a weird thing to confess in a post such as these are. But it's not without merits.  "Dear Younger Me" by MercyMe is a Christian song along those lines.  Of if it were possible to go back and have a conversation with my younger self, what would I say?  It's a powerful song in its own right.  In all honesty I am glad time travel isn't possible to anyone but God. The human nature prohibits the remotest of possibilities that it could ever be used wisely.  Only God knows every single what might have been to every single person in every single time period. 

In this last few weeks it's been a struggle and then some for me.  But whether it's growth in my walk with Jesus or the possibility of some numbness towards the situations, I didn't react as I once did.  While depression was evident, caving into the futility of the moment didn't happen.  Indeed it certainly felt like 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. 

We are not going to be permitted to take up residence in the valley of the shadow of death.  Jesus WILL lead us through such times.  Jesus WILL permit Satan and his minions access to us to cause our growth in Christ Jesus to increase. Read of what Jesus plainly said to Peter.  Satan has requested to sift him as wheat.  Jesus spoke of our being in His hands.  That to get to us requires going through Him.  

Oftentimes we pray for that way of escape rather than praying for the endurance to outlast the trials.  When we are insistent upon holding fast to our faith and in our walk with Jesus, His Word says He will make your paths straight.  The requirement on us is to trust in the Lord with all your heart.  

I don't know with all certainty of how my life would have been different had these struggles not taken place.  

I do acknowledge that without them growing in Christ isn't going to happen. 

Read those two again. 

I don't know with all certainty of how my life would have been different had these struggles not taken place.  

I do acknowledge that without them growing in Christ isn't going to happen.

We should not be seeking our will to be done but rather seeking what it is God's trying to do in us.  

We may be getting priorities to change.
We may be getting prompted to change our way of thinking. 
We may be getting something sinful removed from our lives. 
We may be going through something because we've grown enough to handle the battle while someone else weaker in the faith isn't able to. 

It's not wrong to pray for Jesus to save you.  It is wrong to pray for it without really considering that God's got a purpose for it.  There are no coincidences in life. I like to refer to them as Godinstances.  God keeping His word to me to prepare me for the entire sanctification process. God keeping me on track for growing in Christ. 

It's a reality of life that people are going to get under our skin.  It's a reality of life that circumstances are going to be very much less than ideal. 

For those who are Believers, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  In all these struggles of recent weeks, I refuse to compromise on my Bible reading. I will not pour such excessive efforts into seeking solutions that I would sacrifice my time with Jesus teaching me. 

The struggles are real, but my God is more.

It took quite a bit to keep going but God still was with me.  His blessings still came at just the right time.  The struggles won't stop because I am still growing in Christ. The battlefield is still active and alive.  

Turning and running is not a Biblical option.  We are commanded to stand firm if nothing else. When we turn aside to gain something in this world instead we tarnish the name of Jesus Christ.  When we grab onto solutions we consider right and true from our own way of thinking we take back our prayers and are telling God we know better than Him. 

We will either glorify God in our lives or glorify ourselves.  Struggles are real, they are a part of living life in Christ Jesus.  His promises are stronger than our struggles. 

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