Saturday, August 13, 2011
Problems in Life
There is a subtle pervasive lie today that tells us if we believe in Jesus we will not experience problems in life...that if we can arrive to a certain place of maturity or order our life in a certain way we can avoid problems.
However, we never see this in Scripture - from the OT to the NT it is full of conflict, problems, and trials. The life of Jesus was full of them and the apostle Paul lived a life that was never without them:
"Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches." (2 Cor 11:24-28)
Life is hard, challenging, and scary at times...there is nothing easy about it if we are really going to live it and face the curve balls that get thrown at us. However, the good news is that we have a God who promised to walk with us through each of them, even when we strike out along the way.
Problems are a common denominator to life, not an abnormality. Our faith is not about arriving at a state of utopia, it's about facing the life we are living...knowing that God uses problems to grow us, love us, and make us more like Him.
We all have core values we live from, regardless if we know that or not. One of my core values in life is never to waste my trials...knowing that they come from a good and sovereign God. I never pray or ask God for them, though they come all the time into my life. One of the ways I allow God to use them is by letting them remind me that life doesn't have to go my way...less of me, more of Him.
It's a good reminder to remember that Jesus is our Savior for a reason...we all need to be saved daily, as we have daily, if not hourly, problems we are facing. This shirt is a depiction of the mindset we need to shift from: mindset that thinks that once we come to Jesus all of our problems will be eliminated.
I get the shirt, as long as it's not saying push the Jesus button and problems in your life will be no more.
Here are two great verses about what problems can do in one's life if we choose not to waste them:
"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." (Romans 5:3-5)
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)
* If you are overly familiar with these verses check them out in The Message Bible
at 10:22 PM