C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity says:
…we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected) he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along–illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation–he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now?
Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.
The first paragraph of the above quote is exactly how I used to feel about my life as a Christian. I never thought about the fact that God might send adversity into it in order to grow and mature me to a deeper level.
It is very important for mature Christians to make it a point to help new Christians grow in the right way.God does things much differently than we do, so new Christians need to be trained in new thought patterns that match what the Bible says. One outstanding example is the way God talks about faith – believe it BEFORE you receive it. This is much easier to do once you start to see God’s Character. There are many places in the Bible where He tells me that if I will do a certain thing, He will in return do a certain thing for me.
When you KNOW that God will do what He says, it is much easier to have the kind of faith that pleases Him and brings to pass things that would be impossible without His intervention.
As a young Christian, I never dreamed that God would on purpose place me in certain tough situations in order to grow my faith and mature me as a Christian. I know in my case (and probably most of the population), I will do just about anything to keep things running smoothly and have peace in my life at all times.
The only time I do something that I know will cause controversy is when I know specifically that the Holy Spirit has led me to do it. Then I have no choice if I am to continue in my close and personal relationship with God.
In 2013 God led me to take a stand for truth. I prayed about it for 6 weeks to make absolutely sure I was to do it. I didn’t know how things would turn out, but I was so miserable that I had to do what I knew God was telling me to do. I knew that to choose to ignore God would mean walking in rebellion against Him.
How can it ever be a good thing to deliberately choose NOT to do something you are absolutely sure God has told you to do? Things didn’t go so well for Jonah when he disobeyed, and I knew they probably wouldn’t go well for me either.
I also knew I would never be able to look at myself in the same way if I didn’t take this stand for truth. You don’t get another chance for some things.
God prepares you for years sometimes. Then He gives you a whopping, enormous, gigantic TEST to see what will come out of the refining fire as pure gold.
God desires your obedience even if things don’t turn out well, which is what happened in my case. But I have total peace that I did the right thing, and my conscience is clear. I know that my actions were done in the right spirit and that I was totally in the Will of God.
I have learned that a clear conscience is a precious thing to have when others have told you that what you did was wrong. It keeps you on the right track and helps you move forward with God even in the midst of a hard situation.
God has used this hard time to reveal areas in me where He desired growth and maturity on a deeper level. I would not have chosen to go through this, but I learned things that have made an indelible and forever impression upon my spirit.
I also learned another important thing that I hope I remember in the future when another hard test comes along.
When you don’t do something you know God has told you to do, almost instantly your prideful flesh starts to justify your actions. You might wrestle with it but if you are determined to continue with this fleshly justification process, you can almost get to the point that you believe you did the right thing. But the KEY word here is ALMOST. Deep down you know the truth even as you are trying to suppress it.
As I saw firsthand this happen with the actions of others, the Holy Spirit also brought to memory times where my own prideful flesh did this same thing in the past. I justified my actions rather than acknowledging the wrong I had done.
In the future I hope that I recognize fleshly justification for what it is – a cover-up for keeping my fleshly pride intact. I think Satan wins more battles in the area of pride than in any other area.
I am so thankful that God didn’t give up on me after more than one failure. HIS MERCY AND GRACE ARE SO GREAT THAT WE CAN’T UNDERSTAND IT. At least I know I can’t. I thank God so much for 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th chances as I am on the road to Christian maturity.
God allows difficult things to happen in our lives to make us either run to Him or run away from Him and try to handle things ourselves. I shudder now when I look back and see the number of times I chose to try to handle it myself. It’s funny how we think we control so much in our lives, when it only takes one moment to change things forever.
God loves you so much that He sends tests your way to make you stronger.
Will you be obedient to do what He says, even when it might cause some pain? or will you let fear control your actions and walk in disobedience?
If you’re like me, you will never desire controversy or problems, but if you can think about them in the light that God is maturing you as a Christian, you will desire to pass every test no matter how hard you think it might be.
God wants to change you into His image and likeness so that you can be used to point others to Him. But as always, He leaves the choice up to you!
This post written by Cathy Deaton.
Please check out my other sites:
How To Deal With A Selfish Person
Handbook for Victorious Christian Living
Blueprint for Victorious Christian Living
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