Today in church, we sang a song called “May the Words of my Mouth” by Shane Barnard. Within the song, there is a line that says, “Lord, I desire to be a blessing to you in your eyes…in your eyes.” Something grabbed at my heart, knowing how I must disappoint Him, not growing in Him as I should. This week’s readings were focused on holy living and living up to our potential in Him. He spells it out so clearly in His Word of how to act, how to think, how to praise, how to not be downcast, but live a simple life, finding contentment in Him. The part of living up to our potential in Him tugs at me. My heart breaks that I haven’t more to offer Him after being a Christian for thirty-something years. My unbelief, my disdain for trials and lack of understanding their value-yes, value in being a catalyst for change. Enduring trials (and allowing them to mold us) is part of the deal.
Paul feared this very thing for the church at Thessalonica. He was afraid they might have fallen away because of his suffering. He said “I told you there was suffering associated with serving Christ. And sure enough, you’ve heard about our suffering. But don’t fall away on account of this. 1 Thessalonians 3:2-5 “to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. You know quite well that we were destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless.”Paul was afraid the church at Thessalonica would not reach their potential in Christ. He’d heard they were doing well but had to send Timothy to check on them. He said encourage each other, and your love will grow. He said we were destined for trials such as he had experienced.
Is our faith about believing we’ll be delivered or about believing we’ll be improved through the loving hand of God in the midst of our trials? We are to be transformed from glory to glory (in ever-increasing amounts) as we come upon that Day. My favorite teacher once said, “We don’t want glory because it’s too hard.” It is my fear I will miss my potential in Christ entirely if I don’t submit and allow Him to mold me through these trials. We all have trials. It’s what we do with them that will make the difference between counting them as failures or seeing them change us to look more like Him. We have a choice. Trials can make us bitter or they can make us better. Are you reaching your potential in Christ? Lord, I want so much to be a blessing to you, in your eyes. Change my heart to cling to you, to embrace trials as opportunities, to bring you an offering of my heart transformed by your powerful and merciful grace.
Hebrews 6:1 “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
Please check out what lingers with others at Bev’s Cover to Cover as we journey through His Word in 2008. It has been nothing short of life changing for this prodigal daughter. I count you among my blessings this Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.
“Is our faith about believing we’ll be delivered or about believing we’ll be improved through the loving hand of God in the midst of our trials?” This is great food for the thoughtful spirit, Annette. I’m thankful for your influence in my life, always pointing me toward the Father, encouraging my growth, laughing with me. I’m praying God blesses you with more of Him, and that he also grants you the desires of your heart. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your fam!
I’m enjoying being a “baby” Christian right now. I wonder how long I will be one?! Anyway… this post reminds me of the song, “Bring the Rain”. Opportunities to bring Him glory through anything we have to endure here on earth. I pray we are not bitter, but better because of them! I’m Believing God!
A very happy Thanksgiving to you, Annette. I’m thankful you’re my friend.
A few weeks ago I was praying for my daughter and a work situation. I was not praying for it to go away, I was praying for her to be changed and to grow while going through it and for her to see God’s hand at work. I was shortly convicted after praying, because that is NOT what I pray for myself. I want to be delivered! Not only am I blessed by your thoughts, I am blessed by other’s comments! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
It is a difficult balance to walk in the knowledge that God controls it all…even the hardships of life that feel like they are going to derail us.
I spent a lot of time in Romans 12 in October and it was humbling to see what living like a sacrifice should look like and how many days probably the bulk of them I am not like that…makes you wonder about how you live.
Yet when I remember that God holds my life in His hands…it does bring peace and that there are lessons that come from these times of trial…although this week, I definitely wanted relief.
Well, I have been on your blog and this comment form forever as I have gotten two calls in the midst of it. One from our insurance agent for a car accident that Carlen was in this weekend…she rearended a car and her passenger was not wearing a seat belt and hit the windshield…praise God she is just very sore…and the other driver has whiplash and Carlen has back pain…both cars just have really minor damage. There is much to praise the Lord for and I need to keep that perspective and not borrow more worry or trouble.
Blessing to you and for a wonderful Thanksgiving,
Trials do indeed mold us, shape us. He refines us so that we can be shining and so that He will be able to see His reflection in our lives and so that others can see Him when they look at us. I have to admit that I’ve not always submitted willingly to a trial and then other times I have. I pray that I have learned from all of my trials and will continue to do so. We must not “waste our sorrows” but use them for His glory. I have walked with Him longer than you, sweet Annette, and I too feel that I have failed Him so greatly. I so want to end well. Heard our Pastor talk about that last night, about what kind of legacy are you leaving. Be a Channel of blessing before you die, when you die and after you die. You have been a channel of blessing to me through your sharing and writing. May you have a blessed time this week with your family. Praying all goes well with all of your preparations. Blessings…Mary Lou
Christians must realize hard does not always mean bad and easy does not always mean good. Trials temper us, refine us, and mold us more and more into His image.
Have a blessed day dear sister.
Oh how we struggle to be what he intended us to be. (or perhaps the problem is that we don’t struggle enough.) I so want to be all that He made me to be. You are an encouragement to those around you, dear one. I am so grateful for you.
destined for suffering…rings so true…not a popular message with Christians today…so many want the answers to get out of their problems instead of embracing the suffering…
you live well
you love well
you suffer well
one of many things i have to be grateful for this thanksgiving is YOU…you’re right at the top of my list…