ĚThey almost ended my life on earth, but I did not abandon Your precepts.Ě
How do you respond when suffering sears your life? Are you tempted to either forget, or forsake God? Did you know a spiritual treasure is found in suffering, especially if we do not abandon His precepts?
We are called to live supernatural holy lives through the power of His Holy Spirit, for God is Holy and only this kind of life is pleasing to Him (I Peter 1:15-16). Yet, we should not choose to live holy for our own benefit, with the attitude to achieve our health, wealth or personal peace. These characteristics may ring true, or not, but when we link these elements to living a holy life, and they arenĚt true, then we will begin to doubt GodĚs goodness. Rather, our attitude should be to live holy lives for the mere reason God told us to do so, regardless of the outcome (Matt.16:24). Living a holy life will not make us immune to trials and tribulations.
Suffering will come to those whose hearts are completely His, and part of our calling is to endure when we are good and suffer, for it brings favor with God, because Christ suffered for us, and He is our example, so we should follow in His steps (I Peter 2:20-21). God loves His children, and He works all things out for our good (Romans 8:28). Thus, if He allows these trials in our lives, they must have a divine purpose.
Thankfully, we can be assured that trials and tribulations come with a purpose (James 1;2-4; 12). GodĚs ultimate goal for our life is to conform us to His image (Romans 8:29) and trials and tribulations help to accomplish this goal (I Peter 1:6-7). As we endure trials that come as the result of doing good, our character conforms to be more like Christ, causing us to rejoice in our suffering (Romans 5:3-5) as we depend more on Him, thus enabling us to do all things through Him who strengthens us (Romans 5:8). Through Him, we have the victory (I Corinthians 10:13); therefore, don't give into the temptation to abandon His precepts.
Points to Ponder and Pray:
Ps. 119:81 I long for Your salvation; I put my hope in Your word.
Ps. 119:82 My eyes grow weary looking for what You have promised; I ask, "When will You comfort me?"
Ps. 119:83 Though I have become like a wineskin dried by smoke, I do not forget Your statutes.
Ps. 119:84 How many days must Your servant wait? When will You execute judgment on my persecutors?
Ps. 119:85 The arrogant have dug pits for me; they violate Your instruction.
Ps. 119:86 All Your commands are true; people persecute me with lies--help me!
Ps. 119:87 They almost ended my life on earth, but I did not abandon Your precepts.
Ps. 119:88 Give me life in accordance with Your faithful love, and I will obey the decree You have spoken.
The Bible also speaks about trials and tribulations that come as a result of our own wrong choices and sin (I Peter 4:15). We must take responsibility for these actions, and not blame them on others, or circumstances or the ills suffered in our childhood. Noah was a righteous man, yet his father Lamech was the first polygamist (Gen.4:19) and boasted about killing two people (Gen. 4:23), but Noah chose not to follow in the ways of his father. Although we can be assured God forgives us when we sin, as a result of His death on the cross 2000 years ago, we will still reap the natural consequences of our wrong choices. Yet, God in His grace, still uses these consequences to help conform us to the image of His son. Thankfully, our God is a God of second chances, and even when we blow it, He is big enough to shape our lives to His purpose and our ultimate good. Are you a prodigal? Do you want a second chance? Ask Him to change your mind about your sins, and accept His forgiveness, and then choose to trust Him to make you into the person He wants you to be. Worship Him!
Like Job, we may suffer for our righteousness. And, also like Job, we may not have a clue as to what is going on, or why. Suffering is the hardest thing to understand. Yet, one day we will understand completely. In the meantime, we must choose to trust God and His Word, that these trials and tribulations are all part of GodĚs great and perfect plan for us (Romans 8:28). Take this to your heart: the Bible recorded JobĚs honest response to suffering. Job, the most righteous man on earth, who feared God and walked in his integrity (Job 1:8), blew it. In his confusion, Job remembered his holy life, but doubted GodĚs goodness (Job 31:5-37). Yet, God, in the end, out of His mercy and grace, drew Job closer and gave him a double blessing. We serve a God of second chances. Worship Him!
Job didnĚt know about the interview between God and satan in heaven (Job 1:1-6). This proves we live in a world where reality is made up of more than the physical things we can see with our eyes; reality includes what is happening in the spiritual realm too, and we can trust it to include the plans, promises, power, and provisions supplied by GodĚs great love for His children. God was testing Job, and Job didnĚt know it. There are things in the spiritual realm that affect our lives, which if we knew about, we would probably react with a bit more courage. Yet, we know that God works out all things, even evil things, for our ultimate good. Joseph certainly realized this truth (Genesis 50:20). Just consider how he endured evil plots, false accusation and unfair treatment in order for God to put him in a position to save his family. Jesus, GodĚs only Son, was delivered up for death in order to save us. We can trust God to rule over menĚs plans, even when we donĚt understand what is going on. Pray you donĚt give into the temptation to forsake God and His Word when trials and tribulations come.
Thanks for praying. Your prayers make THE difference. Maranatha. Jesus is coming soon. He is bringing His reward with Him. Are you ready? Is your family ready?