One of the inevitable aspects of living in a Genesis 3 world is the fact that life is full of challenges, trouble, trials and conflict. The impact of sin has been such that it has infected every single aspect of life in such a way that we simultaneously love it and suffer from it every day. Life is indeed a battle.
Unless we allow the Word of God shape our thinking and approach the toughest parts of life, we will have a very hard time growing and deepening in any long lasting sense. Here are three central biblical truths that can help us stand firm and come out victorious in our day to day battles.
1. God is still God
That is to say, no matter what happens, nothing and no one can ever put a dent in the fact that God reigns! No matter how tough or bleak things may seem God is still in charge, he is still directing the course of history to fulfill his purposes, and his purposes cannot be altered.
“Remember this and stand firm…
I am God and there is not other…
declaring the end from the beginning,
and from ancient times things not yet done, saying,
‘My counsel stall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose’…
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass,
I have purposed, and I will do it.” (Isa. 46:8-11)
The problem with us is that we easily forget the greatness of this mighty God in the midst of trials and difficulties. We allow our circumstances to dominate our view rather than always seeing everything in life as happening under his mighty hand. He is God, and no matter what, his purposes cannot be stopped! Even in the most complex times, he is working it all to his end.
2. Trials perfect our faith
Once we reset our perspective to seeing everything in light of God’s wise and mighty hand, we start to see that he has a perfect purpose in our trials. Hebrews 12:7 reminds us that because Jesus has paid the price for our failure, God’s purpose in our troubles is to strengthen and perfect us rather than to punish.
The reason that we often react sinfully in our trials is because they push us to the limits of our maturity. We all bend a certain distance, and we all have a breaking point. God’s grace in our trials is that he is always working in us to help us grow past our limits. He leads us to learn to react in wisdom through more and more challenging experiences.
Paul reenforces this in 2 Timothy 3:16 that the christian life is a constant training process in which we are more and more equipped to live in righteousness. Training involves us to be pushed to our limits. No pain no gain. But what a glorious pain this is!
3. Without love, we are nothing
One of the most painfully ironic things about history is how much blood has been shed “in the name of truth”. But then, in a way, it makes perfect sense. More than anything else, we are most prone to taking anything good, and making it all about us. We take the great things that surround us in life and we make them our own personal ultimate things.
We even do it with the gospel. We act like it is up to us to save the day and that every assault on the truth is against us personally. We forget that Christ destroyed the ultimate hostility by taking everything upon himself and that we are accepted and redeemed.
Indeed Christ calls us to act boldly on our convictions. But that is an ugly waste if it is not done in a spirit of gentleness, humility and love. We surrender the whole message of the gospel if we give into our selfish emotions and react to challenges with a heart of pride and superiority. We can accomplish the most amazing things in life, refute the greatest errors, organize the greatest ministries, expose all the injustice – but if we do not have love, we ourselves fall into that same line of selfish and corruption.
So take heart! If you have come to know Christ, no trail is outside his purposes. Lets learn to use the opportunities that trials provide to grow in wisdom and love, and to all the more display his amazing story in our lives.