As I live my life, I am aware of things going on around me. One of the most useful things that I have learned so far is that we ALL go through various trials. As I get older and experience life more, I can see the differences between challenges which God’s people cope with and the issues that people face in the world.
But there is one fact that holds true for both – it is that we are all human beings. We all have to deal with our own human nature and with sin. Church members know that God allows trials for their growth and edification. In fact, this is one of the ways that we can KNOW that God is dealing with us and working out His plan for each of us. We read many times in the Bible that God allows us to go through different trials. Each trial is an individual challenge, which no one else can go through. We can pray for each other and we most certainly should lean on each other for help, comfort and support. 1 Peter 4:16 states that there is no shame in suffering. In fact, we need to learn to cope with it humbly, while relying on God (Proverbs 3:5-6).
When we are trained by God’s discipline (Hebrews 12:6-8), we will be able to have good works (Ephesians 2:10). In a world that is increasingly rotten, we have to be willing to do what is right in the eyes of God. As we each go through our trials, we should not be judging each other; but rather, praying for each other. Look at what Paul warns Timothy about in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”
We CANNOT allow any of these attitudes to permeate our lives. In fact, the warning is so strong that it says to remove ourselves from people with these character traits. If we search ourselves and find any of these attitudes present in our lives, it is important to pray and fast about them and remove them immediately.
One of the most interesting things that Paul states here is that people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” When we seek only after pleasure, money, and other things that don’t really matter, we will lose our way! This has been proven time and again by people who have left God’s Church. But when our ways please the Lord, He will bless us in so many ways. God WANTS to bless us. He wants us to become God beings. This truth is so powerful. It is what we must keep in mind every day and in everything that we do.
Are we willing to guard our hearts against the many things that can ensnare us? Proverbs 5:21-23 states that because of a lack of instruction (including a lack of Bible study), a person will fail. Our ways are constantly before God, but this is not a negative thing. Yes, we ALL fail at times. We all fall down and make wrong choices, but this must not stop us from repenting and moving forward. I personally know how hard it is to not to become discouraged; but rather, I choose to fight on!
In Philippians 4:6-7 we are given great instruction as to how we should conduct ourselves: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
If we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work through us, we will be guarded by God. As we move closer to the return of Christ and the coming of God’s Kingdom, we will encounter trials that will be a lot harder than anything we have seen so far. Now is our time to be drawing close to God; asking Him for understanding; for peace of heart and mind; and for the LOVE of His truth and Way of Life. Matthew 24:12 states that because sin abounds in people’s lives, the love of many will grow colder and colder. This is talking about God’s love in us and the obedience to His Way of Life. We must guard our hearts and not fail, since we are now so close to receiving our just reward.