Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Way Through not Around

CWO quote for November 16, 2007

"The purpose of Christianity is not to avoid difficulty, but to produce a character adequate to meet it when it comes. It does not make life easy; rather it tries to make us great enough for life."~ James L. Christensen ~

Wouldn’t life be great if it was true that the purpose of Christianity was to avoid difficulty? No disease for those who are Christians, no marital problems, no health issues, no money troubles. Hey this sounds pretty good, I want to become a Christian. No, no, no wake up, wake up! I said “wouldn’t life be great IF” however that isn’t the way it works.

Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that once we become a Christian we can expect smooth sailing. What it does for us is it gives us the ability to meet difficult times face to face when they come along.

Coming out of the waters of baptism we don’t get handed an easy button to push whenever we want something. We get handed the Holy Spirit to help us through good times and bad. The by-product of our faith produces something that cannot be purchased, hand-delivered, or passed down from one generation to another.

Whether we like to admit it or not we often learn our best lessons through the tough times. Little by little if we stick with the Lord a character begins to build. A character that helps us through whatever life has to throw our way.

Frequently as Christians we forget that it’s not always going to be easy. We take what it says in 1 John 4:5 and run with only part of the verse. The part that says, “Greater is He that is in you that he that is in the world.” Super! That right there says everything should go perfect, right? Wrong. Time for another wake up call as we sit down and read the whole verse. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Obviously the people he was talking to had their own difficult times to make it through. Obstacles such as the testing of the spirits to make sure they weren’t following the spirit of an antichrist. Their victory or ability to overcome this was contributed to the fact that they had the Lord working on their side.

God expects us to be people who overcome things as He molds us and shapes us into something great enough for life. Going further into the book of little John we see him stressing that very point when he said in 1 John 5:4,5 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

“Only he who believes,” that is our key to overcoming the world. It’s important that we remember that Christ isn’t a way around difficult or hard times He’s the way through them.

CLOSING THOUGHT: Jesus isn’t an escape route that we take in order to avoid anything but the gates of hell themselves. We need to trust that He knows what He is doing and have the patience to wait until He’s done. We’d be surprised just what can come out of the difficult times. Bringing out things that show up in our character. The very disposition we are told needs to be like Christ.

Once again, it’s not always going to be easy, we are bound to fail a test or two or three or four but we can’t let that stop us from our final goal of being all we can be in Christ. If that takes difficult times then so be it. We don’t have to ask for a thorn in our flesh in order to appreciate God’s grace, the thorns will come.

As 2 Cor 4:8,9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed.” To me that is what being a Christian is all about thanks to the fact that we carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in us. No matter how difficult the time, those who believe and follow Christ won’t be crushed, despaired, abandoned or destroyed! Only molded, shaped, and made into something great for life. Our lives here on earth and life everlasting, praise the Lord.

Our host this week is Allison over at Simple Christian Living . Drop in to read and share what others have to say about today’s quote.


Denise said...

I really enjoyed your post, may you be blessed.

Allison said...

Beautiful post :) Thanks for stopping by In Other Words Tuesday! God bless and have a wonderful holiday!