TRIALS WILL COME!
What happens when we give our lives to Christ or rededicate ourselves to Him?
God allows us to endure trials which will challenge us to grow and make us stronger.
The trials do not make us grow automatically. We grow as we yield to the inward work of the Holy Spirit conforming us into the image of His Son!
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11
Merely "toughing it out" is an act of the flesh and will not produce this inner work. It comes only as we allow our newly created inner man to grow in Christ!
If we don't cooperate as fully as we should, we can slow our growth and it will be detrimental to us in this life!
These trials that God allows us to endure are designed to be too great to overcome in our own strength. They are designed to draw us to Christ, forsaking our own efforts to endure, instead sweetly surrendering to the power of His Holy Spirit within us!
THE RELUCTANT SOLDIER!
What if we choose to be only half-hearted and do not commit fully to God and His plan?
The trials will still come, but because we have chosen not to yield to and partake of His power, we are left with only our own strength to overcome these fierce trials!
Imagine if you are in a war zone. You are wearing the uniform of your country and are in enemy territory. When you observe how intense and harsh war really is, you decide you want no part in it. So you sit down or lie on the ground wishing it would all go away.
What will happen when an enemy combatant sees you? He will say, "It is obvious that soldier does not want to be here; just leave him alone." Right? Wrong! He will not take time to analyze your mental state. He will see one thing - the uniform!
When we confess that we belong to Christ before men, we have put on the "uniform" of the Christian!
We are letting men and devils know that we belong to Christ! We wear the uniform of our country so those on our side will protect us. As Christians, we are marked by God to be protected by Him and His heavenly army!
If you are in a war zone, the best things to do is wear your uniform proudly and cooperate fully with your army. Lying down in the battle and refusing to be a part of the violence will not protect you. In fact, it will make you an easy target!
If you try to run and hide, you may escape the enemy but they will be looking for you. You will also be running from your army where your protection comes from! They are your strength! They have numbers around you to watch your back! They have mighty weapons which will be employed for your protection!
So it is with God! If you lie down, wanting to avoid the battle, you will be an easy target. If you try to run, you may temporarily escape the heat of the battle but you will also be running from your strength - God!
He has hosts of angels that will be assigned to you! He will never leave nor forsake those who wear His uniform!
He has mighty weapons to pull down enemy strongholds:
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Do you want to fight on your own, without a plan with a knife as your only weapon? Or would you rather be among your fellow troops, following the plan of the Captain of the Lord's army and having all the power of heaven assigned to you?
The answer is obvious!
A.W. Tozer, a great pastor and writer once said,
"The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians."
If we truly stand for Christ, we are going to be in a battle whether we want to or not! If we wear the uniform of Christ, we are already marked by the enemy! Lying down or running will not protect us! No one is more miserable than the half-hearted soldier or the half-hearted Christian!
Our best strategy is to commit ourselves completely to God, endure training as good soldiers, yield fully to His plan and fight with the strength and weapons He alone can give!
3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
2 Timothy 2:3-4
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