Friday, October 26, 2012

The promise of Jesus: TRIALS

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We Christians often say that the love of God to send His own Son to die in our place as punishment for our sin is incomprehensible. His is a perfect love, eternal love, unconditional love. We do not understand a love like that. But we are grateful for it!

If there is one failing we have, it is that we underestimate the hatred satan has for us. A hate like his is incomprehensible, we forget how dark it actually is. Satan's original name is the light, (Isaiah 14:12) but he descended into total darkness. His mind is a cesspool of black sewage and his heart has shrunk into a dark raisin with the mass of a million dead suns. His hatred of Jesus, and by extension of us, is eternal, incendiary, flaming and all-consuming evil that has no end.

We do not like to think of an enemy like that who has such a constant hatred of us, so we don't.

Therefore very often we are surprised when a trial comes. If we live in a Western nation, especially, we are wealthy by the world's standards, happy, productive, going along perhaps for years with no major problems. Then suddenly one day, BLAM.
Not all trials are directly from satan. Some are because the world itself is sinful. Some of our trials are because we are sinful and we're just experiencing the consequences of our own mess. But some are definitely because satan has attacked us.

Our first reaction is to moan and bewail the situation, disoriented because of the sudden cut-off of light. It is like when you come into the condo from the bright, sunny beach. You go "whoa" and stop walking because it takes your eyes a second to adjust. If you have woken up one day to find yourself in a moment of darkness it is all right to stop for a second and wait for the heart and mind to adjust to a new reality. But take heart, you don't have to remain in a state of disorientation or darkness. Your eyes will adjust, and if you remain in the Word when your eyes clear they will rest on Him.

Jesus said He said we would have trials so that in Him we may have peace.

'Peace? Peace?' You shout. How can I have peace? I am facing foreclosure! I am being hauled to court on false charges! I was diagnosed with a fatal cancer! My child was just killed! Peace, you say? There is no peace!'

Oh, but there is. Here's why: There is nothing that you are going through that Jesus did not go through. Nothing.

Are you grieving over a death of a loved one? Jesus wept over His dead friend and over his beloved city. (John 11:35, Luke 19:41).
Have you been arrested on false charges? Jesus was. He was hauled off in handcuffs in front of His friends and students. (John 18:12)
Have you been taken to court unjustly? Jesus experienced that. And He was convicted, too. (John 19:16).
Have you been threatened with violence? Jesus endured it. (Luke 4:29).
Have you been conspired against? Jesus was too. (Mark 3:6).
Have you been stabbed, spit on, tortured with violence? Jesus suffered it. (John 19:1-2; John 19:18, Matthew 26:67).
Have you been rejected by even your own neighbors? Jesus knew the pain of it. (John 4:24; John 4:44).
Have you been faced with penury and poverty? Jesus was homeless. (Luke 9:58).
Have you faced temptation of the pride of life or the sin of the flesh? Jesus was offered it. (Matthew 4:1-11).

Even those of us with medical issues can know that Jesus sympathizes. If your body is broken from a paralyzing accident or is rife with a dread disease, Jesus endured that. How so? Because He came from eternally holy glory to pour himself inside sinful and putrid flesh and live in it for over 30 years. He allowed His body to become a cancer, comparatively speaking. (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14)

He told us ahead of time that we would have trials, not so we could worry about what those trials are or when they would come. There is no need to obsess about them. But when they DO come, and they will, He has gone before us to take unto Himself your sorrows, and to give you peace through your trial. His peace has another gifting aspect to it: if we dive deep into His peace within our trial, we don't have to sin throughout it.

Doing this in the midst of our trial shows Jesus to the world: "and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat." (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)

And the more we pray for our enemies and bless them that persecute us, (Romans 12:14) the more our faith will grow and the more peace we will have.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

So we can have the light within instead of the darkness. He made a spectacle of the darkness while He was even on the cross they are forever disqualified from having jurisdiction over you.

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

You might be going through the fight of your life, but FAITH IS THE VICTORY

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2 comments:

  1. this is such a blessing and encouragement to read. Thanks for talking about different sorts of trials, it's very easy to get swallowed up by whatever we are going through and take our eyes off Christ. We are so lucky to have a faithful God and Saviour that never leaves us nor forsakes and that is always our strength.

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  2. Linked this post to my blog. I am an endurance athlete going through a physical trial at a difficult time financially (trying to change jobs). When I started to really feel sorry, my Coach was kinda surprised because I said, well....I'm sure I have Jesus here now. He asked why...and I responded, well...Jesus promised me trials...not all milk and honey, so if I am enduring a trial, I know Jesus is still with me. It helps...though I still have a lot of fear and concern for how my future is going to look. It is all in how Jesus needs to use me on this earth. So far we think it might be to witness to the Neurosurgeon....

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