Join us on our podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
We are living in times that can cause both great fear and great opportunity. These are seasons where the faithful and wise people of God can flourish.
It is not because all is peaceful or that challenges and hardships are diminishing, but these are the days that great character is forged. As we contend with difficulties, strong hearts and minds are being formed and creative new strategies for life are being birthed.
Deep calls to deep and extreme necessities call upon great virtues. When minds become transformed and passionate hearts are engaged, then those qualities, which would otherwise have lain dormant, awake to new life and new opportunities. The Spirit of God empowers and releases these battle tested messengers of light to bring forth His power, presence, and glory upon the earth like never before.
Fear or Opportunity?
There are many believers who are looking at the future with little hope or optimism. Whether it is the eschatology or view of the end times that they may have adopted, or the continued challenges they face, it is evident that fear and hopelessness have gripped many.
As Christ has overcome the world, so also must we in Him. We are to be His light, the evidence of a life that has been transformed, and a life that is not continuously shaken by the happenings all around us.
This is a time where we can be hope filled and present the hope within us to those we engage with. There are many opportunities to thrive and reasons to be alive in this day and age.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28-30)
We are in a truly excellent position in Him in which we cannot fail and we cannot lose, EVER! Every moment good and every moment bad is all worked out for His good and our good in the end. What a precious promise, what an amazing God!
Will you choose to see the benefit in your present challenges as preparation for your bright tomorrows?
Formation Through Suffering
C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Suffering is a catalyst that produces spiritual change. God intends for suffering to draw us into His loving arms. Unless we really know and understand this, a crisis will tempt us to doubt God’s love, goodness, and faithfulness.
You are faced with a crucial decision whenever a crisis enters your life. Will you trust God to work in your circumstances or will you turn your back on Him by seeking relief or comfort in other ways? We also can move away from faith and retreat into fear. Your faith in God and attitude toward Him ultimately determine whether your trials will make you a better person or serve as tools for your destruction.
Jesus explains, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness” (John 10:10). God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. In His plans, ALL things work together for good. However, those plans for your good also include suffering.
It is often during times of suffering that we learn to refocus our lives on God. David confessed in Psalm 119:71, “The suffering You sent was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your principles.”
God has a purpose for every difficulty you encounter. Although this purpose is seldom obvious at the time, you must always remember that God does not want to destroy you but strengthen and grow you up through adversity. He wants to shape you for His glory and to conform you to the image of Christ. He does not send suffering to crush you; He wants you to triumph right through the suffering.
Can you reframe your journey? Can you reshape your story of victim or suffering into one of overcoming glory?
Wear the Crown of His Glory
Scripture triumphantly proclaims that victory belongs to all who are in Christ. God assures us, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”(Romans 8:35,37, NIV)
We must not pray for an easier life, but pray that we would remain in Him while relying on His overcoming strength within us. We must not look at our limitations and align our work around those limits, but we must be obedient to His will and His purpose for our lives by being and doing through the power of His Spirit. Then we can live prepared and present for every moment as His light and glory to the world.
True spiritual life and the life in the body cannot be separated. Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, sacred. What we have lived in the body will not go to waste but will be lifted in our eternal life with God.
As Christ bears the marks of his suffering in his risen body, our bodies in the resurrection will bear the marks of our own suffering. Our wounds will become signs of glory in the resurrection.
Supernatural victory in the midst of adversity is always there for you; it has already been done for you. Christ has given you the victory now and for all eternity, and you can experience His triumphant life whenever you place your faith in Him and in His promises.
As you do, you will experience abundant peace in the midst of every challenge. Every day you will be able to see the wonders of your God through and witness the richness of life that comes to you through the grace of your God.
Robert Ricciardelli is a writer, speaker, talk show host, and a transformational life and business coach. You can find out more at www.convergingzone.com
Draw closer to God. Experience the presence of the Holy Spirit every month as you read Charisma magazine. Sign up now to get Charisma for as low as $1 per issue.
Has God called you to be a leader? Ministry Today magazine is the source that Christian leaders who want to serve with passion and purpose turn to. Subscribe now and receive a free leadership book.