His robes for mine:::
Heb. 13:5-6 (NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[a] 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”
Matt. 14:26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. (NIV)
The disciples experienced several “mountaintop moments” in their time with Jesus. But when a storm arose while they were out on the Sea of Galilee, fear took over. Amidst the roaring waves and with the boat rocking, Jesus’ chosen ones failed to recall the lessons they had learned about the power and purposes of their leader. Even the appearance of Christ walking on water didn’t bring immediate relief (Matt. 14:26).
When trouble strikes, we sometimes forget our knowledge of God, too. We struggle to recall past answers to prayer, specific guidance provided by the Holy Spirit, and lessons learned in previous crises. Only the present seems real. Our minds spin with future implications, and our troubled emotions inhibit clear thinking.
In our own strength, we lack sufficient resources and abilities to meet life's challenges. So God provides what we need. Our suffering is never a surprise to the Lord. He knows everything we are going through. More than that, He’s orchestrating our circumstances for His glory and our benefit, according to His good will.
Reflecting on the divine purpose in hardship can help us respond to trials in a God-honoring way. Let’s take a moment to fix our attention on the Lord and seek to understand four lessons He wants us to learn through life’s dark moments:
1. One purpose for hardship is cleansing. Because of our own "flesh" nature and the self-absorbed world we live in, it's easy to develop selfish attitudes, mixed-up priorities, and ungodly habits. The pressures that bear down on us from stormy situations are meant to bring these impurities to our attention and direct us to a place of repentance. Our trials are intended to purify and guide us back to godliness, not ruin our lives.
2. A second reason we face difficulty is so we'll be compassionate and bring comfort to others. God's work in our lives is not intended solely for us. It's designed to reach a world that does not recognize or acknowledge Him. The Lord uses our challenges to equip us for serving others. As we experience suffering, we will learn about God's sufficiency, His comforting presence, and His strength to help us endure. Our testimony during times of difficulty will be authentic. Those to whom we minister will recognize we know and understand their pain. What credibility would we have with people in crisis if we never experienced a deep need?
3. Third, God promises us He'll provide a path through any trial we face. The disciples probably wondered how long the storm would last and whether they would make it safely to shore. Most likely, they wished it never happened. But, had they somehow avoided this storm, they would have missed the demonstration of Jesus' power over the sea and wind. The frightening situation was transformed into a revelation of the Savior's divine nature. God wants to make His power known through our trials, as well.
4. The most important thing He gives us is an awareness of His presence. At first, the disciples believed they were alone in a terrifying storm. When they initially spotted Jesus, their fear increased. They thought He was a ghost. But as they recognized Him, their fear changed to relief and hope. Similarly, we may not sense God's presence during a crisis. But He has promised to always be with us (Heb. 13:5-6). The assurance that the Lord will never leave provides immediate comfort, an infusion of courage, and a sense of confidence to endure.
No one enjoys suffering. But in the hands of almighty God, trials become tools. He uses hardship to shape believers into the people He intends them to be. Jesus allowed the disciples to experience the fear and anxiety of being in a boat on a raging sea. He permitted them to suffer because He had something far more important to teach them. He wanted the disciples to recognize their own helplessness, His sufficiency, and their dependence on Him.
Ask God to reveal His abiding presence in the midst of your trouble. And remember—He always provides for your spiritual needs to help you both endure and grow stronger in your Christian faith.
James 4:8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
I have a friend who was, at one point, a self-confessed shopping addict. Recently, his family realized that this activity had stopped, though he hadn’t intentionally curtailed it. Why did his longing to acquire more goods dissolve?
The reason was that my friend had become more satisfied with the Lord. He no longer needed fulfillment from what the world had to offer. What a terrific illustration of growth in Christ.
In addition to finding fulfillment in God, there are many other growth indicators that are noticeable to the believer. For instance, offering forgiveness becomes easier over time. Consider our Savior, who asked God to forgive even those who crucified Him on the cross (Luke 23:34).
Also, as we mature, our faith will increase. God loves us, and He gracefully and gently builds our confidence in Him. Then, as our trust grows, we realize how faithful He truly is—which makes our assurance even greater.
Finally, as our relationship with the Lord deepens, we will increasingly desire to obey Him. We will be able to confidently proclaim, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97). The desire is born not out of fear but out of love for our heavenly Father. Similarly, when we do sin, our heart will become saddened and repentant.
Are you satisfied spiritually? Or do you have a growing, insatiable hunger for more of Jesus? Friend, if you think that you’ve come far enough in your journey with Christ, you have made a terrible mistake. You are missing great fulfillment and excitement that come from getting close to Him.
The Morning Bible Study notes are posted here.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest