The typical view of the Christian life is that it means being delivered from all adversity. But it actually means being delivered in adversity, which is something very different. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling . . .” (Psalm 91:1,10)— the place where you are at one with God.
If you are a child of God, you will certainly encounter adversities, but Jesus says you should not be surprised when they come. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” He is saying, “There is nothing for you to fear.” The same people who refused to talk about their adversities before they were saved often complain and worry after being born again because they have the wrong idea of what it means to live the life of a saint.
God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. If there is no strain, there will be no strength. Are you asking God to give you life, liberty, and joy? He cannot, unless you are willing to accept the strain. And once you face the strain, you will immediately get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the first step. Then God will give you nourishment— “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life . . .” (Revelation 2:7). If you completely give of yourself physically, you become exhausted. But when you give of yourself spiritually, you get more strength. God never gives us strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the moment. Our temptation is to face adversities from the standpoint of our own common sense. But a saint can “be of good cheer” even when seemingly defeated by adversities, because victory is absurdly impossible to everyone, except God.
God’s Word: Showing Us How to Live
Galatians 6:1-18: Paul gives the Galatians instructions for living in community, exhorting them to “obey the law of Christ.” He concludes by warning them again about those who are advocating circumcision, emphasizing that what is important is being a “new creature” based on faith in Christ Jesus.
Today’s Scripture: Galatians 6:2
Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.
1 My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. 2 Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself. 4 You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done. 5 For each of you have to carry your own load. 6 If you are being taught the Christian message, you should share all the good things you have with your teacher. 7 Do not deceive yourselves; no one makes a fool of God. You will reap exactly what you plant. 8 If you plant in the field of your natural desires, from it you will gather the harvest of death; if you plant in the field of the Spirit, from the Spirit you will gather the harvest of eternal life. 9 So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest. 10 So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith. 11 See what big letters I make as I write to you now with my own hand! 12 The people who are trying to force you to be circumcised are the ones who want to show off and boast about external matters. They do it, however, only so that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even those who practice circumcision do not obey the Law; they want you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you submitted to this physical ceremony. 14 As for me, however, I will boast only about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; for by means of his cross the world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. 15 It does not matter at all whether or not one is circumcised; what does matter is being a new creature. 16 As for those who follow this rule in their lives, may peace and mercy be with them—with them and with all of God’s people! 17 To conclude: let no one give me any more trouble, because the scars I have on my body show that I am the slave of Jesus. 18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, my friends. Amen.
What instructions does Paul give? How is community among believers built and sustained based on these instructions? Are these instructions relevant for your community of faith? Why or why not? Paul exhorts the Galatians to “obey the law of Christ,” which means that followers of Christ are to love one another because they have been accepted by God and have received God’s Spirit. What does obeying the law of Christ mean to you?
|How Do I Let It Go?
“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NKJV)
Three-year-old Elle arched her arm and pointed her fingers. “You’re frozen, Gaga!”
I stopped in place, one arm behind me, the other in the air. She giggled, then quickly unfroze me.
If you are in the vicinity of anyone under the age of 6, you’re familiar with the movie, Frozen. In it, two sisters struggle in their relationship with each other and in finding acceptance.
At one point Elsa, the older sister, sings these words:
“Let it go, let it go …
“And I’ll rise like the break of dawn …”
Let it go.
Those are words I sensed God speaking to me years ago.
Let go of the past that you cannot undo.
Let go of the warped view you have of yourself. It doesn’t match the one I have as your Heavenly Father.
Let go of the hurts that hold you too tightly.
Just as I playfully stood frozen while my granddaughter giggled, there was another time when I felt frozen. I couldn’t take a step toward healing.
“Let it go, sweet daughter,” was a whisper I heard from God to discover the Suzie He saw me to be.
Maybe you’ve sensed God asking you to let something — or someone — go.
Let go of the mistakes you once made. I’ve forgiven you.
Let go of the anger that’s consuming your thoughts.
Let go of condemnation, so you can live free.
You want that desperately, but it can be hard to let go when you don’t know what that means. May I share the definition of letting go with you? It was freeing for me when I finally understood it.
Letting go is giving up what is beyond your control to embrace what you can change.
In Isaiah 43:18-19, God spoke to His people through the prophet Isaiah saying: “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, And rivers in the desert.”
The people held so tightly to the past that they missed the new things God wanted to show them.
God speaks the same warning and truth to us. We can’t control the past, but we can focus on the miracles around us today.
We can’t control the words that once shaped our hearts, but we can replace them with truth from Scripture.
We can’t control negative people, but we can choose joy for ourselves.
Letting go isn’t easy in the beginning, because holding on is our natural response. But there’s so much hope! Just as the prophet Isaiah describes new roads in the desert and rivers in the wilderness, as we give up what we can’t control to embrace what we can change, new ways of thinking, relating and living are carved into our very being.
And the beautiful thing about letting go?
It doesn’t just change us.
It has the power to alter the next generation, and the next after that, like the cute little blonde-haired, blue-eyed darling chasing her Gaga through the house, singing, “Let it go!”
Dear Jesus, I’ve wanted to let go for a long time, but I didn’t know how to do that. Now that I do, I’m ready to take that leap of faith. I give up what I cannot control to embrace what I can. Thank You for carving new roads in the desert of my heart and new rivers in the wilderness of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
From: Streams in the Desert
I will make all my mountains a way (Isaiah 49:11).
God will make obstacles serve His purpose. We all have mountains in our lives. There are people and things that threaten to bar our progress in the Divine life. Those heavy claims, that uncongenial occupation, that thorn in the flesh, that daily cross — we think that if only these were removed we might live purer, tenderer, holier lives; and often we pray for their removal.
“Oh, fools, and slow of heart!” These are the very conditions of achievement; they have been put into our lives as the means to the very graces and virtues for which we have been praying so long. Thou hast prayed for patience through long years, but there is something that tries thee beyond endurance; thou hast fled from it, evaded it, accounted it an unsurmountable obstacle to the desired attainment, and supposed that its removal would secure thy immediate deliverance and victory.
Not so! Thou wouldest gain only the cessation of temptations to impatience. But this would not be patience. Patience can be acquired only through just such trials as now seem unbearable.
Go back; submit thyself. Claim to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus. Meet thy trials in Him. There is nothing in life which harasses and annoys that may not become subservient to the highest ends. They are His mountains. He puts them there. We know that God will not fail to keep His promise.
“God understandeth the way thereof and knoweth the place thereof. For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven”; and when we come to the foot of the mountains, we shall find the way.
–Christ in Isaiah, by Meyer
The meaning of trials is not only to test worthiness, but to increase it; as the oak is not only tested by the storms, but toughened by them.