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John 6:49 -50

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.

 

Endure hardship as discipline;

Thursday, 05 August 2010 22:50 Bolaji Theo Douglas
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Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons, for what son is not disciplined by his father - Hebrews 12:7.

As believers and citizens of God's kingdom we need to understand a couple of things with regards to hardship, trials and difficult circumstances. We need to understand God's view on them, in addition we also need to understand the sort of attitude that we must develop towards them.

I want you to know that hardship, trials and temptations would come to all, both believers and non-believers alike, the only difference lies in understanding the position of God and the attitude to cultivate towards them when they show up.

The bible described the days we live as evil (Ephesians 5:16) , while speaking about the signs of the end times, the pictures painted were not rosy either. As long as we are in this world one thing is guaranteed everyone, we would all at some time have to face and contend with varying degree of hardship and trials. As believers we are enjoined not to count it strange when trials and hard times come our way, rather we should count them as joy. But unless we understand why the scripture is asking us to do this, we would struggle to see why anyone should jump up for joy and welcome trials with open arms into their life.

You see there is nothing in us that desire trials, nothing in us loves the pain and the challenges that hard times and trials inflicts, even the most hardened guys amongst us would still exercise some reservations in the face of trials. So to be told to rejoice and accept hardship as a normal way of life would take a lot of persuasion before such argument would even begin to make any sense. But the fact of the matter remains, whether we like it or not , whether we invite or welcome it or not, before anyone of us would have completed their allotted time on earth, we would have to confront one form of hardship or the other, we would be faced with one form of trial or the other and we would have gone through some painful experiences as part of what life has in store for us all. The scripture declared that  'Man's time on earth is filled with afflictions'. If that is so, man then needs to learn how to handle this situation when they come in addition to acquiring the right attitude towards them. This is where for every believer, the need to understand the position of God becomes vital to us in our faith walk with him. This is also the reason why we need to understand the sort of attitude that we need to cultivate with regards to hardship.

So what is the position of God in all of this, what is the take of God in all of this? To get any meaningful answer we would need to look at what the scripture have to say. You see the scripture informed us that we must accept hardship as discipline, the discipline implied here has nothing to do with punishment nor does it have anything to do with judgment arising from condemnation. The temptation to take this viewpoint is real if we do not understand the position of God and why he allows us to go through these painful moments.

So what is the discipline implied here? Well in simple terms , the discipline implied here is training, believers are enjoined to endure hardship the same way they would endure training, declaring that God uses the hardship and trials which are most certain to come the way of every believer. But I want you to know something before hand. You see as a believer facing trials does not imply punishment or judgment, God is not using trials and hardship to punish any believer, he does not punish or judge believers, I mean not after he has judged them in Christ and declared them justified. Romans 8:1, declared that 'There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus', while Romans 5:1 echoes a similar message, that having been justified through faith in Christ Jesus, we have peace with God.

While non-believers may wallow in condemnation coupled with fear and the hopelessness that comes with it when they fall on hard times, such should not be the case with believers if they get to see the position of God and what he can do with the condition they have suddenly found themselves.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. - Romans 8:20-22.

What does this scripture say to us? Well the simple fact that everything that is going on in the world, including the trials and the hardship all falls within what his sovereign will permits. But he uses them to bring about change. You see to the non believers, he uses trials to warn them, to punish them, to judge them and to bring them to repentance depending on the state of their hearts. For both believers and non-believers alike I want you to know that God does not delight in the death or destruction of any sinner, rather he delights in when they repent and they are spared of further punishment. So while trials serves as tool for punishment aimed at bringing about the repentance of the sinner and those who are still the enemies of God, the very same trials easily becomes the tool he employs to train and to build up those whom he has redeemed and called to himself.

But how can something that was used to punish others at the same time become a tool for my training? Good question, let us see how trials and hard times can become useful in the hands of God.

  1. a. Trials remain one of the tools employed by God to put our faith to the test. The scripture maintains that our faith must be validated in order to prove its genuineness.

    Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: - 1 Peter 1:6-7.

    b. Trials remain one of the tools employed by God to develop certain virtues and attributes that are needed to help our faith to become productive.

    For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory -2Corinthians 4:17.

    And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope - Romans 5:3-4.

    1. Trials and hard times remains the tool in the hands of God that he uses to keep us humble and keep us relying on him alone as opposed to relying on ourselves or any other mortal. Trials and hard times reveal our true self to us, while at the same time also helps us to turn our eyes towards heavens.

    But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us - 2 Corinthians 1:9-10.

    1. Trying times and moments are employed by God as a tool to keep us sober and subdued, thus keeping us away from the bigger harm that we might inflict upon ourselves as a result of pride and overconfidence in self.

    And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. - 2 Corinthians12:7.

    As we can see God uses trials and hard times for the good of his children, what he does , he does out of affection and motivated by the desire to ensure that we inherit every promise that he has made to us and sealed through the covenant that the blood of Jesus seals us into. The ultimate assurance that God meant well for us even when we find ourselves in this unpleasant situation is found in the verses below;

    For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans8:38
    -39. So what attitude should I develop when I find myself facing trials or hardship confronts;

a. Cultivate an attitude that welcomes challenges and trials. Do this knowing that it is needed in order by you in order to obtain the promise. Remember a conqueror is someone who has won battles, a hero is someone who came through adversity, daylight only comes after darkness, reward is the payment for labour and calm always follows every storm. Finally remember it is those who have suffered with Christ who would also reign with him.

b. Rejoice because of the benefits that it can potentially bring, in addition to the fact that God is dealing with you as a son. Rejoice knowing that all the saints you hear about , who received God's approval were only able to do so because they were trained in a similar manner. Rejoice knowing that God is treating you like a son and not as a bastard. Rejoice knowing that you also share in the affliction of Christ, but most importantly rejoice knowing that God is using your circumstance to build you up and make you a better person.

c. Remain confident and positive because great is the blessing that accompanies the season of trials. Remain confident knowing that every trial you overcome brings you closer to God's promises. Remain confident in God's promises, knowing that God is committed to his promises for you. Remain confident knowing that he has not asked us to seek him in vain and the fact that everything that God has promised is Yes and Amen in Christ Jesus. Be confident in this, that each trial is positioning you closer to the promise, for as the scripture says 'After we have done the will of God, we will receive the blessing'.

d. Continue to trust in the Lord, knowing that he is in the drivers seat. He wont give you more than you can chew , and just like he did not allow Satan to destroy Job, he would also not allow the trials to harm you.

e. Ask God for an understanding about what is going on and the lessons to learn from the season. You must know that God has not asked you to figure things out with your own wisdom, remember one the aims of the training is to teach you how to always seek his wisdom and understanding in every situation. Now rather than later is the time to learn how to do this, now is the time to cultivate this wonderful virtue.

f. Finally rest in the blessed assurance that you can ask for his help and he would make the sufficiency of his grace available, just like he did to Paul.

So rejoice God's discipline is not judgement, every citizen of the kingdom must have this attitude and know this about the King of the Kingdom.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 September 2011 17:28
Home Kingdom Standards Endure hardship as discipline;
Psalm 1:1-2
“[BOOK I Psalms 1?41] Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”

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