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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Struggles

Have you ever just sat and wondered what is going on with life? Why when everyone else is smiling your head is swirling with worry, regret, and/or fear about the past, present, and future? Are the Heavens bronze and God seemingly absent from the maelstrom of your life? Why do children suffer, loved ones fall ill, and our own bodies and minds breakdown when we need them the most? My opinion matters little as I am no great theologian, philosopher, or prophet. I am just a man with questions bouncing around inside my head and knowing that there is one sure place to find some answers.

We live in a sin cursed world and it has fallen from its originally created perfection Rom 8:19-22 ( Genesis 2&3)and all things, including humanity, must endure the effects of this curse. This includes the natural decay, death, and every natural calamity that has befallen man and beast.

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Because of this sin, and not only Adam’s but ours also, we have been subjected to this present world we live and operate in. No one is immune from life. No one is above reproach. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. Rom 3:10-16.

That brings me to my second observation: the consequences of our choices in this life. We do not operate in a vacuum as everything we do affects the world around us. We speed and we are subject to fines, we live, eat and drink as if there is no tomorrow and our bodies deteriorate. The drunk driver kills an innocent family with no apparent rhyme or reason that is discernable to us. Our choices, whether good or bad, have both temporal and eternal consequences not only on us but on those around us.

David, the king after God’s own heart, is evidence of the universality of this concept. David had an illicit affair with Bathsheba, she became pregnant, he had her husband murdered, and he lied about this whole ordeal for months. The child that was conceived was born and soon died ( 2 Sam 11&12). Here we have the anointed king of Israel, God’s chosen, a man after HIS own heart, sinning and not only causing his own grief but others around him as well. We are no better than David and must remember that for every action we take there is a subsequent effect to our cause.

Through all this we must retain one piece of vital information: God is sovereign. HE is the Almighty Creator of the universe and nothing has ever escaped HIS attention. Psalm 103:19 The apostles while suffering persecution acknowledged this (Acts 4:20-31) and Joseph when addressing his brothers in Egypt stated that God is in control and even used their sin for His good ( Genesis 50:12-20) . The ultimate example of this is found in the betrayal of Jesus. While Judas is solely responsible for his heinous actions, God had already decreed it and was even actively involved ( Isaiah 53:10-11). Jesus Himself said no one took His life but HE laid it down on His own (John 10:17) and shows that God was an active participant in the whole affair. Through this act of betrayal God reconciled the world, including lost humanity, to Himself and made it possible for us to come before His throne and obtain mercy.

God also uses these trials, tribulations, and temptations we face to bring us closer to perfection. I personally would have never grown in grace if it were not for the hardships of this life. When running uphill we must condition our heart, legs, and lungs to the increased resistance and stress acting upon us and our faithful journey with God is often the same . Paul tells us in
Rom 5:3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; Rom 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. God working in us, around us, and through us causes these tribulations to lead to our good ( Romans 8:28-29). Without experience we will never grow, mature, or learn to help others in similar situations we have found ourselves. This testing of our faith has another result also; it produces endurance. This endurance will give us strength ( Philipians 4:12-14) and will have its perfect work in us which makes us complete and lacking nothing ( James 1:2-4) so that we can grow in Christ and be conformed to His image.
Our response to these trials often run the full range of human emotions. We will often ignore what we are going through, wearing rose colored glasses and being oblivious to life’s, and more importantly, God’s lessons. We can ignore the cause of the problems which will only lead to more and greater difficulties and further alienation from God if sin is the culprit. King David did most if not all of these in response to his sinful actions with Bathsheba and the ensuing turmoil in his life and his kingdom. Psalm 51 details David’s repentance and restoration after his confrontation with the prophet Nathan. In Psalm 51:2-4 he acknowledges his sin and confesses it before God. Further along in verses 12&13 he asks God to restore the joy of HIS salvation so that he can teach transgressors His ways and sinners will be converted. The chastisement of the Lord proves our relationship with God ( Hebrews 12:6-8), does not seem pleasant (v. 11), and leads to peaceable fruits of righteousness.

These trials we endure also leads us to ask God for wisdom which HE will give willingly ( James 1:5). One aspect of this wisdom we can glean from our trials is a healthy fear of the LORD which is the beginning of wisdom ( Psalm 111:10). We can learn to praise Him through the storm as HE is our Rock and deliverer ( Psalm 18:2, Psalm 27:5, Psalm 40:2). He will lift us up and make our ways straight before, after, and during our tribulations so that HE may receive glory and honor and praise (1 Peter 4:16)

We must remember these things while living this life God has given us:
1. Not all trials are directly from God although HE is in control
2. They may be caused by our actions or the actions of others
3. If we are HIS children HE will carry us through
4. God will receive glory from whatever situation we are in


Please take this time to examine your life and see if you are in Christ so that you may have a friend that sticks closer than a brother who will never leave nor forsake you. He is our all in all and even through life’s struggles He will guide, console, and strengthen us through it all. Lean upon Him and trust your eternity to Him. God bless.

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