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.