Christianity is a paradox. To live we must die to self.
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,”
Power is found in and through our weaknesses.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong,”
2 Corinthians 12:9,10
My sinful life is exchanged for Jesus’ sinless perfection and furthermore Jesus suffered the penalty for my sinful life when He did nothing wrong.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,”
2 Corinthians 5:21
In the book of James, he writes we are to be joyful when trials and difficulties come our way. Our trials are like sandpaper to the 2x4 of our spiritual life. God uses these trials and experiences to smooth out rough edges and show the world how we respond to adversity.
Do we respond by trusting God or becoming angry with Him?
Trials should not surprise us. James says when you experience trials, not if you experience trials.
“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”
These trials in fact are for our good and for our growth. So if you are currently not suffering a trial, it may be around the corner. Yet, God is with you to strengthen, to help and to uphold you.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you; Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand,”
Remember, God has your best in mind.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”
began his journalism career as a newspaper correspondent for his local paper in Ohio. He covered city council meetings, wrote features and took photos. Rich served with Worldwide Challenge magazine from 2008-2016. Now, he writes field reports for another Cru ministry. Contact Rich at Rich.Atkinson@isponline.org.
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