We all experience trials in life, whether it is business related or personal, hardships are just part of life. A lot of my inspiration for blogs come from messages I hear at LifeChurch.tv so it is important I give Pastor Craig credit for the scripture used and overall inspiration for this blog. Ever since I started writing blogs, I have blended my business and personal life, me using a sermon for inspiration should be no surprise to a lot of the people who regularly read my blog.
Let’s get to it.
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. …
1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT
What? Be glad for my trials? Be happy for my struggles? How is this so? I do not know about you but trails suck. I have had my fair share of them over the last 3 years (ok, a lifetime) and for some foolish reason, I believed my trials would end when I gave my life to Christ but truthfully they had only just begun.
Initially, I believed these trials to be part of some strange sense of humor God has, however, I learned, through faith that they truly just test. God wants to know our faith in Him is genuine and is it is, the rewards are miracles. Yes, real life miracles.
All throughout the Bible, you can read story after story of trials, tribulations, and miracles. It was not until I actually committed to reading the Bible that I understood there was a purpose behind each and every one of them. It was through reading the Bible that I learned that all of the struggles I was experiencing had a lesson and an opportunity hidden in them.
That does not mean that I act like it’s Christmas each and every time I am faced with a mountain of adversity. I do, however, (after an initial grunt, tiny internal tantrum and maybe even a nap) understand what the challenge is for me in the grand picture. Instead of feeling defeat and anxiety, I pray for wisdom and the “eyes to see” the opportunity and blessing in these trials. In other words, I give it all to God.
When my faith was not real, this was impossible. I know this because, In the past, I would pump myself up full of mantra’s and “will” and try to conquer those mountains myself and would prompt end up in the ditches of life. I ended up hitting wall after wall and creating an even larger mountain to hurdle. False faith is worse than having no faith at all.
Shallow faith to me is attempting to live a life for God on auto pilot. You cannot serve the Lord by not seeking Him daily and often. You just cannot. Everyone can have a spiritual high. Heck, I was the king of them. I would go off on a wild bender of drugs and alcohol, nearly die and then swear I would never do it again. In those moments I had never been closer to God, I told myself. After those moments, I would pay extra attention in Church, read a devotional or two and for about a week, talk a great game about how I had changed my life.
Then something would go wrong and then I was immediately back on a bender. That happens with shallow faith and it really isn’t faith at all.
I am pretty sure if you ask anyone in Oklahoma if they are a Christian they will say yes. That does not mean they are but they grew up in a (most likely) Baptist church, you know the religion that doesn’t allow dancing? Well, in the movie Footloose they did not allow dancing. Anyway, most of us adopted the religion we were given by our parents but that doesn’t give us faith.
A lot of us abandon religion when we get away from our parents because let’s face it, getting up early on Sunday morning and going to church is the last thing we want to do after staying out till 3 am the night before.
To have true faith we must develop it on our own. It doesn’t matter what it is real. I mean, after we leave the comforts of home and we get out in the world away from the influence of our parents, we develop our own beliefs and ideas. What we fill out mind with is what we become and that surely will create a belief system and dictate what we have faith in, if at all.
It is easy to have faith when everything is going great or God answers your prayers promptly. What happens if your prayer does not get answered immediately? What if you waited 400 years like Abram to have God’s promises delivered to you? Could you wait? Could you “keep in faith” and stay the course?
I will admit as a young Follower there have been times I have screamed out, “I cannot take anymore! Free me of this burden!” and it feels as if my cries have fallen on deaf ears. It is hard to let go of control and trust in His plan for our lives. God sees the big picture and even if you think you are a “big picture” kind of person, you cannot see what God sees.
Will you stay the course? I know that I have wanted to jump ship a few times and give up. In those moments I open the Bible and read story after story of other peoples struggles and how God came through when all hope seemed lost. Faith sometimes takes patience and just enough hope. There is hope in the Word and sometimes having a little bit of hope is what you need to make it a little longer to see that your plan is not nearly as good as God’s plan.
How does God use your trials?
Trials reveal your faith
These trials will show that your faith is genuine. …
1 Peter 1:7 NLT
Trials draw you closer to God
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 NIV
You love [God] even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9 NLT
Thank you for reading. Stay the course, stay in faith and do not quit.
Joshua T. Berglan