Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stand Fast

1 Corinthians 16:13 (KJV)  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

In our last post, we talked about Joseph and Jesus going through bad situations..  And a little bit about what might have happened if they’d skipped out on those events.  But what about us?  Will we miss out on something phenomenal in the future if we choose to opt out of negative circumstances?  Is there any benefit while we go through things?  Let’s take a look and see.

Recently, reading John Maxwell, he mentioned the “sure enough” principle.  He said, “If you expect to fail, sure enough, you will.  If you expect to succeed, sure enough, you will.  You will become on the outside what you believe on the inside.”.  One of my employers used to quote Henry Ford as saying, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”.  That may sound like motivational thinking, self propelled orientation toward success, positive thinking.  But, in fact, it’s Biblical.  Especially in bad situations.

Proverbs 23:7a (KJV)  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:
If life were easy, no turmoil, no arguments, no disappointments, there’d be nothing to test our mettle.  How we think, what we believe, how we react in times of trial.  Do we fold under pressure?  Do we valiantly try to solve the problem ourselves?  Or do we have an underlying faith that God has us covered and, therefore we can expect a positive result from the efforts He guides us through?
We mentioned Joseph in our last post.  Frankly, if I were falsely accused of seduction, I’d be hollering my innocence from the rooftops.  But Joseph trusted God’s control of the situation enough to be silent.  And, if I were thrown in a pit to die by my brothers, but ended up being sold into slavery, I wouldn’t have warm fuzzy feelings toward my family.  Yet Joseph’s reaction was to make sure his family was well fed and had a safe, comfortable place to live.
David was hunted by King Saul.  Saul never entered any of the places where David was hiding, but David managed to get into Saul’s tent.  Yet, David wouldn’t take the opportunity to kill him, because Saul was still God’s anointed leader.  And, when Saul was killed in battle, David mourns him as having been a great king and suggests that Israel should mourn him, too.  Would we be equally kind to those who hunted us?

If you’re like I’ve been at different times, you might wonder how Joseph and David apply to your life.  After all, they’re special men, anointed with an extra dose of spirituality.  Or are they?  Joseph certainly seemed to be.  But David had more than his share of shortcomings and trials.  Before he became king, he was hunted by King Saul.  During his reign, David succumbed to lust and ordered a murder because of it.  And, later in life, his own son wanted to kill him.  But Acts 13:22 tells us that God thought David was “a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.”.  Not because his thoughts and actions were always perfect, but because he always returned to unity with God’s thinking.

So, what opportunities do we get out of those trials?
  1. We can learn to trust God and reap the benefits of that trust. (Proverbs 3:5 & 29:25, Nahum 1:7)
  2. We can live in faith. (Habakkuk 2:4, Matthew 9:22 & 29, 1John 5:4)
  3. We can grow in faith. (2Thessalonians 1:3, 1Timothy 4:6, James 1:3, Jude 1:20)
  4. We can display a faith that is precious to God. (James 2:5, 1Peter 1:7)
  5. We can resist the devil. (Ephesians 6:11, 2Timothy 2:24-26, James 4:7)
In fact, as our starting verse points out, we can stand fast, strong in the Lord.  Trials give us a chance to flex our spiritual muscles, strengthening our experience of God in this world.  Yes, sometimes we don’t do so well at handling the negative things in life.  But each misstep is another chance to get up and start fresh on our walk with God.  How are you navigating those trials and problems, today?

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