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During this Easter season within churches, there is much discussion of Christ’s death and resurrection. Falling under the discussion of Christ’s death and resurrection is a further discussion that involves the concepts of death and resurrection within an individual Christian’s life as well. Christ’s “trial” of the cross led to His resurrection, and in a similar way, God uses trials in our lives to bring about “resurrections” of various sorts as well. I’d like to share a few random thoughts on suffering, death, resurrection, and the glory of God in a Christian’s life.
SUFFERING BRINGS THE GOSPEL TO LIFE
- Suffering brings the gospel to life. The elements of the gospel are enhanced and infused with meaning when you are going through trials. Prayers are more fervent and worship is louder, at least in the heart, when someone goes through difficulty. While we may be greater tempted to sin during a trial, we are also drawn to God in a greater manner due to our great need for Him during trials
COMFORTABLE PEOPLE PRAY DEAD PRAYERS
- People that have not suffered pray dead, lifeless prayers because there’s nothing to struggle with or against. There is no reason to be fervent in prayer unless there is a trial or some tension coming against the individual. Desperation is absent when a trial is absent, and it’s desperation that’s needed to drive us to prayer.
OUR CROSSED-OUT PLANS ARE A PART OF GOD’S PLAN
- It is not until our “fair designs and plans” of our lives are crossed that we begin to grow in sanctification (the process of growing in holiness, closer to God, and looking more like Christ in our character, motives, thoughts, and actions). Sanctification, by definition, is typically not an easy process. It is a purifying of our souls by burning out and extinguishing harmful elements within our souls that prevent us from being conformed into the image of Christ (see Romans 8:29). God will stop at nothing to ensure that His people, His Bride, His Church, display His purity, even if it means heartbreak and disappointment in this life.
EVERY DECADE WILL BE TOUCHED BY TRIALS
- Sanctification is a crossing our fair designs (our plans for our lives) because, by nature, our fair designs do not lead towards holiness and purity. By default, we pursue pleasure, comfort, and ease, most of which does not lead to sanctification. So what must we do? When the design for our lives has been crossed and shattered, we must trust in a Sovereign God who will pursue His people until we are holy, spotless, and blameless. We must remember that we will always have harmful desires within our souls as long as we are living, therefore, we should expect trials and hardships. Since sanctification is by definition a process, we should expect it to span our entire lives and touch every decade of our lives in various ways. We will not attain perfection in this life, therefore, we must apply to ourselves the patience of God lest we get discouraged and our hearts fail us. Ultimately, Christ has secured our salvation by purchasing it upon the cross for us, but we will always be in the process of becoming more sanctified as long as we live.
GOD IS OUR BOTTOMLESS FOUNTAIN OF ALL GOOD
- One of the old puritans prayed this way to God: “Thou bottomless fountain of all good, I give myself to Thee out of love, for all I have or own is Thine, my goods, family, church, self, to do with as Thou wilt, to honor thyself by me, and by all mine” (“The Valley of Vision” by Arthur Bennett-see banner below too). For those who are God’s children, for those who are truly in Christ and are saved by trusting in Christ, God has and does nothing but good for them. The “good” that He has for them will come in various forms because the “good” that God desires to accomplish is conformity to HIs Son. God desires you to be conformed to the image of HIs Son to fulfill HIs intended purpose for you in your life so that you may glorify Him by your holy life. Another goal of your being conformed to the image of Christ, especially via trials and hardship, is so that others may see God’s holiness shining through your life and so that they (the lost) may see your good works and glorify God as a result. Others, then, will glorify God as they see my glorifying of God through trials and hardships.
I MUST LEAVE MY ENTIRE LIFE IN HIS HANDS
- Until we learn to place our darkest moments in this life into the broader theological context of God’s Ultimate glory, our ongoing sanctification, and our conformity to Christ’s image, then we will always gripe, remain negative, and strive against God and His purposes for our lives. We must allow our confidence in a never-failing, always-good, and Sovereign God to guide our thoughts and our focus as tough times come to bear upon our lives. We are able to leave all that we have and are into the hands of Gode because we know that He is God and that He is more capable of rightly handling our lives that we are able to do ourselves. Plus, If I remain conscious of the fact that my life, and all within it, exists to glorify Him, then resigning all to His hands is the most desirable option since He knows how best to glorify Himself better that I do. The best way I can glorify God is by leaving it all in His hands and that, in and of itself, glorifies Him.
ACTIVE RESIGNATION OF MY LIFE TO GOD
- While we are not called to be inactive in our lives, there is a sense that we must learn to let go of our lives, our plans, and dreams (which is Not inactivity), especially during trials so that God may do as He wishes. Our active resignation of our lives may appear to be inactive, but it is one of the most difficult, and active things, we ever do. What, then, is the basis of this “Ultimate Resignation” of my life to God? The goodness and mercy of God shown to us in the cross of Christ is the Rock foundation and basis for ultimately resigning it all over to God.
- What is God teaching you through the trials in your life right now?