And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:3-6)

Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me, O God of Israel. (Psalm 69:6)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

God is Glorified in our Perseverance

God is Glorified in Our Perseverance

Scripture is overwhelmingly about the glory of God. It is not about the people, yet God uses the people. The real revelation is found in how God worked in people. Just a quick glance at Hebrews eleven shows a “Roll Call of Faith”. And if we look closely, each person had to deal with adversity. For many, their adversity is their crown.

Thus having preached through Job, and being aware of many persons struggles here at church, I find a balm in the doctrine of perseverance. Romans 8 is well quoted. It gives us reason to hope.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:28-31)

The goal of suffering is refinement. Now no discipline seems pleasant at the time. Those who hope in Christ endure. They are well aware that “Those who endure to the end will be saved”. They fear falling away more than the pain of perseverance. Thus, when they choose to hold onto Christ despite other offerings and temptations, they glorify Him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my “Heroes”. Having fled Germany for the safety of the United States, he simply could not be at peace. He knew that in order to glorify God in the ministry he was to have in Germany, he would need to return and suffer alongside the folks. Thus after only 26 days in America, he boarded a ship to embrace suffering for the glory of God.

So now a bit of teaching, a to do list if you will. (I often rebel at the thought of to do lists as spiritual guidance)

What To Do In a Time of Testing

First should be the setting aside time regularly to pray. Our great temptation is to “Fix It”. Yet God is working, we need to be on His agenda and timetable. Fixing it is not faith unless God has led in the go ahead.

Second, Watch. Usually, right after praying if we do not have an answer we tend to rush into the first possible solution that comes along. (In dating they call it rebounding. It carries the connotation of trying to save face rather than sense.) Watch, do not rush. Look for what God brings your way.

Third, at the risk of being redundant, I advise you to be slow. Do not make fast decisions. This is especially true if you have not been abiding in Christ for some time. Take time to know God and the ways of God. Look for scriptural truth that will set you free for peace in Christ, not necessarily a removal of the situations at hand.

Pray some more. As it has been said, “the battle is won or lost in the prayer room”.

Rejoice. Be doctrinal. In times of testing meditate and vocalize in the precious promises of God. Spend time knowing who God is and His grace. Value the gospel message as your great prize. James says to count it all joy. SO in your trial ask God to open your spiritual understanding. Look for the working of Romans 8.

Then repent. Often we short change the working of God by failing to recognize that problems come when we sin. You may be living as righteously as you know, but check with God on this.

And to complete the cycle, start the process again. The relief of testing is best by the hand of God. Then when the trial is over, worship, make His glory known.

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