Gold must Grow: The Beauty of a Faith that is Tested and Tried
Purity 469 07/13/2021 Purity 469 Podcast
Today’s photo of golden fields of wheat with a top of a green tree just cresting over the horizon comes to us to from a friend who loves to enjoy God’s creation and goodness and loves to share what they have learned about God with others.
Although we are months from harvest time, my friend’s photo caused me to ponder the finished product of the harvest and what transpires to bring a crop to the point that it is fully grown and ready to be collected and used.
Harvested crops really are the product of hope and endurance. A farmer prepares the ground by clearing any remnants of the previous year, fertilizing the land, and then plowing it, and planting the seeds. Farmers continue to tend to the crops and monitor their progress and do their best to make sure they are provided for and free from pests or other hindrances to their growth. They may be able to irrigate the land to make sure the crops are watered but that is all they can do. The crops rely on sunshine and the miracle of growth that is put inside the plants by God. God and man set the conditions for the crops, but the crops are left in the field to wither and die or to grow and flourish.
Lately in upstate NY, we have had a mix of days with blistering heat and sunshine and other days with a series of thunderstorms, high winds, and rain that have torn up parts of the countryside causing trees to be broken, with some being ripped out of the earth by their roots.
In the fields, crops are left exposed to the elements and have had to endure hot weeks without rain where those without enough water begin to wither and fade. During the rain and storms the winds rip through the rows of the crops, blowing past and around some plants, causing others to break. The changing conditions can cause some of the crop to become weak and die or the adversity of the extreme weather conditions can cause the crops to become firmly rooted and to be stronger from their experiences. The crops who endure will produce fruit and will grow golden at the end of their cycle and eventually be harvested by the farmers who placed their hopes in them. The golden harvest doesn’t come over night and it doesn’t come easy. The gold must grow.
Sometimes on our walk on the path of Christian Discipleship, certain themes come up from multiple sources and you get an idea that the Lord is seeking to encourage or comfort us. One theme that has come up lately, and that is appropriate for all times and seasons, is that of suffering trials and going through them by walking by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I’m currently in 2 Thessalonians in my morning Bible study and consult Warren’s Wiersbe’s commentary for further insights and understanding and today’s study was full of nuggets of truth regarding dealing with the adverse conditions of life and how our faith is an anchor that can ground us to endure the blowing winds of adversity and that can grow and become mature through the process of trials.
The following are some “highlights” from Wiersbe’s commentary. The list I present may seem simple or random, but I assure you that there is profound truth in these insights that have the fruit of experience and God’s wisdom behind them.:
“Not only does prayer change people and situations, but so does praise…. One of the best weapons for fighting Satan is praise.” - We are to pray through our trials and thank God for what He has provided and for His presence. “Praise works!”
“A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted. New believers must expect their faith to be tried, because this is the way God proves whether or not their decision is genuine. Faith, like a muscle, must be exercised to grow stronger. Tribulation and persecution are God’s ways to strengthen our faith.”
The Christian life is not always easy. Christ told His followers that the world would hate them like it hated Him. The suffering and persecution that we go through will cause our faith to be exposed as false or it will cause us to depend on God more, which will cause it to grow.
“…God never wastes suffering. Trials work for us, not against us (2 Cor. 4:15–18; James 1:1–5). If we trust God and yield to Him, then trials will produce patience and maturity in our lives. If we rebel and fight our circumstances, then we will remain immature and impatient. God permits trials that He might build character into our lives.”
“When a person in difficulty forsakes the Lord and the church, he shows that either he has never been born again, or that his spiritual life is very weak. A true Christian who is growing will be faithful, come what may.”
Our Christian faith and the path of Christian Discipleship is fueled by our decision to be faithful. We are to trust the Lord and practice our faith through prayer, praise, Bible study, good works, and service to God come what may.
There was more wisdom presented then I have space to share today but I will conclude with Wiersbe asking and answering one of those tough questions regarding our faith.
“Why live a godly life if your only experience is that of suffering?
As Christians, we must live for eternity and not just for the present. In fact, living “with eternity’s values in view” is what makes our Christian life meaningful today. We walk by faith, and not by sight.”
Our lives are not only defined by our existence here on earth. We have the hope of the return of Christ, our eternal destiny of living in His kingdom, and the promise of a new heaven and a new earth.
With this in mind, we can endure the trials of this life and when we stay in communion with the Lord by living by faith, He gives us the strength, wisdom, and love to not only persevere but to serve as an example of His goodness and grace.
With Him, we can make it through and even while we are in the midst of uncertain times or the deep pain of trauma, we can stand in His love to find comfort and offer that love and comfort to others.
Those trials in life that we face will cause our faith to grow. The blistering heat of persecution or the storms of adversity that we suffer through will help us to be strong in our faith and will result in a life in Christ that shines forth like gold and cause us to be harvested for use in God’s eternal kingdom.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Romans 2:4 (ETRV)
4 God has been kind to you. He has been very patient, waiting for you to change. But you think nothing of his kindness. Maybe you don't understand that God is kind to you so that you will decide to change your lives.
Today’s verse makes no bones about it. God has been kind to us and given us new life through faith in Christ to help us to change our lives.
God has been very kind to all of us. Through Christ, He has forgiven us of all our transgressions and adopted us into His royal family. His kindness, mercy, and grace has taken us from the kingdom of darkness and our fate to suffer God’s wrath to grant us reconciliation and peace with God and given us entrance into His kingdom where we no longer need to fear death.
God also has been patient with us, allowing us to live our lives without Him to see just how foolish, hopeless, and futile the ways of the world are. He allowed us to live our lives independent of him and to suffer the consequences of our own poor choices. When the time was right, and I’m sure we all wish it had been sooner, the Lord saved us from ourselves.
But today’s verse tells us that it wasn’t just for our salvation that the Lord called us into relationship with Him. He calls for us to be conformed to the image of His Son. He wants us to be holy for He is holy. If we are sons and daughters of God, we should endeavor to change our ways to God’s ways to start showing that family resemblance.
When we come to Christ, no matter who you are, there is a lot to work on. Before Christ we were trained and programmed to live according to the world’s ways. Unfortunately, Satan influences the world system to perpetuate some really ungodly philosophies and attitudes. Satan’s influences can be seen by obvious immorality but also are revealed by subtle things like pride, selfishness, self-righteousness, and independence of God.
So when we come to Christ, God draws us and encourages us to change. For some, what needs to be changed is obvious as some besetting sins have plagued them all their lives. For others, offenses of the heart need to be addressed as God calls us to be kind, forgiving, and loving.
Often believers go about changing the wrong way. They try to do it in their own strength by whipping themselves into submission by the power of their own wills. But while that may work for some, that’s not the way that God wants us to do it.
We were saved by faith and that is the way that God provides for us to change too! While changing our behaviors and thoughts will require some exercise of our wills, the way that God wants us to overcome is by activating our faith, by believing that God has already given us the victory over our struggles and by believing that all the power and strength that will need to overcome has already been given to us.
So don’t think nothing of the kindness that the Lord has shown you, instead understand that God’s kindness and love was purposeful. God wants you to enjoy an abundant life that is free of all the mistakes and troubling thoughts and emotions that you have suffered from before coming to Him. He loves you enough to not only want you to change but He also gives you all that you need to change.
So take a look at yourself, choose one thing to give to God, believe that He will help you to surrender it to Him and follow where the Lord leads you to go. If you continue to have faith in your victory that is given to you by God and continue to walk with Him, somewhere down the road you will discover that your besetting sin has been set aside. You will rejoice of course but show the Lord that you understand His kindness by giving Him even more of you to change.
Our relationship with the Lord never ends. So why not use what He given us to experience all He wants us to have.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue with Dr. Neil Anderson’s Victory Over the Darkness, continuing Chapter 7.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $15.00:
Wrong Responses to Those Who Frustrate Goals
If our goals can be blocked or uncertain, how do we respond to someone or something that threatens our success? We may attempt to control or manipulate people or circumstances who stand between us and the achievement of our goals.
For example, a pastor's goal is to have the finest youth ministry in the community. However, one of his board members attempts to block his goal by insisting that a music ministry is more important. Every attempt by the pastor to hire a youth pastor is vetoed by the influential board member who wants to hire a music director first. The pastor's sense of worth and success in ministry is on the line. So he shifts into a power mode to push the stumbling block out of the way. He lobbies his cause with other board members. He solicits support from denominational leaders. He preaches about the importance of youth ministry to gain congregational support. He looks for a way to change the opposition's mind, or remove him from the board, because he believes his success in ministry is dependent on reaching his goal of having a great youth ministry.
Suppose a mother believes that her sense of worth depends on how well her children turn out. Her goal is to raise perfect little Christians who will become doctors and lawyers. As her children reach their teen years and begin to express their independence, however, their behavior doesn't always match her ideal. She is heading for a collision course because her children want their freedom and she wants to control them. She must control their behavior because she believes her success as a mother depends on it. If they don't attend the functions she wants them to attend, they can't go anywhere. If they don't listen to the music she expects them to listen to, they lose their radio and TV privileges. Somehow she never heard that parenting is an 18-year process of letting go, and the fruit of the spirit is self-control, not child control.
It is not hard to understand why people try to control others. They believe their sense of worth is dependent on other people and circumstances. This is a false belief, as evidenced by the fact that the most insecure people you will ever meet are manipulators and controllers.
People who cannot control those who frustrate their goals will probably respond by getting bitter, angry or resentful. Or they may simply resort to a martyr complex, which I perceived in the woman whose husband wouldn't come to Christ. She had been unsuccessful at getting him into the Kingdom and her faith and hope had shriveled to depression. So she resigned herself to bear her cross of a hopeless goal and hang on until the rapture. Unless she adjusts her goals, she will live the rest of her life in bitter defeat.
Victory Over the Darkness: Realizing the Power of Your Identity in Christ.
God bless you all!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship