Some weeks are better than others. My divorce is going to be finalized very soon. Getting over something like this isn’t easy. And we all go through things like this – maybe not a divorce, but other types of loss.
I took my sons to Target recently. While there, we ran into a woman who was all decked out in the “Target Garb”: khaki pants, red t-shirt, red vest with her name tag on it… the whole uniform. So, I asked her if she could help me find what we were looking for and she said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’m off work.”
So, I’m thinking that if you are inside the store and you are completely outfitted in your uniform, it’s your obligation to help a brother out. I just needed to be pointed in the right direction. But she wasn’t helping anyone during her break. I dunno, maybe I’m weird, but I just don’t think that’s right.
Switching gears, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
So, yes… men wrote the Bible, but the words were breathed out from God, and He uses those words to prepare us and equip us to do His will. This is why I view my Bible as a toolbox. And just like any good worker, I customize and organize my toolbox to best help me do “every good work”. For me, this means highlighting key verses so that I can find them quickly and be reminded of certain passages, especially when tough times come along.
In fact, the New Testament tells us that when we find ourselves in these seasons of life full of trials and struggles, we should be happy about it. Doesn’t seem to make much sense, does it? It’s like when you get a third degree burn, and somebody tells you, “Hey! You should be stoked!”
But, it’s not really like that.
James 1:12 says that, as we endure these seasons, we can rely on God’s blessings:
God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. 13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.
Did you catch that? God does not tempt you. He will test you. You’ll find yourself, from time to time, being tested and faced with options of either being obedient to Him or not. But He does not tempt you.
His tests are placed in our lives in order to refine us, just as 1 Peter 1:6- tells us.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Now, when I recently went through my trials, instead of enduring and remaining steadfast, I backslid. When I read this verse, I had to ask myself the hard question: “Is my faith for real?” This caused me to turn back to God, repent, and thus show myself and God that my faith is, in fact genuine.
Another passage that deals with when we go through trials and struggles is in Romans 5:3-5
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Like I’ve said before, this Christian life ain’t easy. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that Satan, “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” And that someone is YOU. So, how do we keep from being devoured?
I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that the Devil wants to take me down and devour me. So, my defense starts out each morning by doing a daily devotional. After reading God’s word and contemplating it, I spend about a half-hour in prayer. This prayer time consists of worshipping God (telling Him how incredible He is), confessing my sins (asking for forgiveness and repenting), praying for other people, and praying for myself. Now, I’ve met some people who say you shouldn’t pray for yourself, but that’s a bunch of bologna! They don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s not Scriptural at all. In the Old Testament, we see David crying out to God for himself. Jesus did it as well.
Another key is fellowshipping with other people at a church full of people devoted to following Christ. You can’t do this Christian life on your own. We all need to stave off sin, and it’s impossible to do it alone. You need other people, and you need the strength that comes from God.
So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude He had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. 2 You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. 3 You have had enough in the past of the evil things that Godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
4 Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. 5 But remember that they will have to face God, who stands ready to judge everyone, both the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:1-5)
The more that you say no to sin, the more sin loses its hold on you. Maybe your sin is lust, maybe it’s partying and getting drunk or high, maybe it’s anger or gossiping. The point is that we need to put on a warrior’s outfit of the whole armor of God and battle, constantly fight, to remain pure. You may deceive yourself into thinking, “Hey, that’s the way I’m wired. It’s only natural for me to behave or think that way.”
NO! That’s what the world has re-wired you to think. But, as a Christian, you have been wired to act Godly and fight against sin.
The beauty is that even when we are too weak to battle and lose, we always have the opportunity to repent and be restored by God!