February 8, 2013
Do we truly believe in the cause of Christ? Have we whole-heartedly denied ourselves and daily taken up whatever cross He has given us as we follow Him? (Luke 9:23) If so, then just as a faithful, devoted soldier does, we will obey our Commander’s every order and will do so with joy. Why with joy? Because we know that we are on the righteous and winning side. Because we know that we go forward into battle surrounded by our Commander Himself. Because we know that whether we live, die, or get maimed, we will be awarded the medal of honor. And most importantly, because we know that our Commander, He whom we adore, will be pleased.
So, what are we to do when trials and persecutions come? We are to receive them as opportunities to “advance in levels of faith.” (See Rom. 1:17) This we do by quoting the Word of God, by praising the Lord, by thanking Him for every circumstance (1 Thes. 5:18), and by exalting Him for His power, His majesty, His character, and the wonders He has done in the past. Doing these things proves that faith exists in us, and it builds faith even more.
God’s will for us is that we be grateful children, victorious soldiers, and pure priests that serve Him in love. This is not going to happen if we have a bed of ease. Yes, it is wonderful when God gives us “rest on every side” (Josh. 21:44 // 2 Chron. 20:30), but He is not going to do this until He sees that we’ve been faithful in the hard times. Does a husband want a wife who only sticks by Him when things are easy and when she’s getting all she wants by being there? Of course not. Genuine, devoted love can only be proved through the hard times.
God leads us through difficult places to test our faith and to melt it into steel. Once we have steel faith, our resolve to follow Him obediently cannot be bent. This is what He wants in us, and this, so that we can be valuable servants that can be used for mighty feats. Should we not then be exuberant over the hardships that come our way? Should we not give our King thanks for presenting to us the chance to show ourselves to be mighty warriors –warriors who can face a battle head-on, go in fearlessly, and conquer? We will always win if we go forth in this attitude, in this armor, and whether we live or die or come back wounded, we will receive the gold medal and much reward and honor from the Most High Commander Himself! What a privilege it then is to have troubles and persecutions! And the bigger they are, the more amazing the deliverance, the greater the glory for God, the further the spread of the Truth, the higher the medal of honor, and the more souls rescued from the evil realm.
Consequently, God wants to make us into saints who rejoice no matter what. He wants this in order to show Himself for who He is –that He cares for His people, that He is compassionate and mighty, that He is full of justice and mercy, that He is all-powerful, and that He is the LORD God Most High. He also wants it for our benefit and the benefit of others. If we are full of faith, then we are strong, and then He, because He is in us, is proved faithful. This not only builds the faith of many, it leads them into Him –He who is the only Rock, the only Savior, and the only means of Life. Why then are we wondering why God is allowing extreme trials? He is doing it out of love and kindness!
Therefore, through everything, let us continually praise the Lord. Let us bless Him always. Let us, each minute, have the thought and attitude, “Lord, show me how I can be a blessing to You right now.” And let us not neglect to be exceedingly grateful that He keeps choosing us for difficult tasks that require strong faith.