School of Hard Knocks

I had devotions at church today and thought I’d share my notes on our blog as well. I don’t claim to have this mastered (I complain to God more than I should) but God has been teaching me these principles.

1. Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:1-5

It’s all about Perspective.

Would you rather eat farm fresh eggs…

v949-fresh-eggs

Or fresh squeezed butt nuggets?

b9d138cea0c6b75e4a51bc87b06f7e56

We’re talking about the same thing (eggs) but from different perspectives – which gives you different emotional reactions.

What’s your perspective on your life?

If success is being comfortable & happy…

  • Trials are an interruption on my path to success
  • Trials are an obstacle to my success
  • Trials take up my time and keep me from success
  • Trials need to be remedied quickest way possible
  • Trials need to be avoided at all costs

Trying to be happy all the time stunts our growth.

Our attempts to get back to “happiness” makes us try to sidestep the “curriculum” that God is using to prepare us for the next stage of our journey.

This perspective leads us to:

  • Seek quick, supernatural deliverance from the trials instead of building personal growth and character from the trial (although deliverance isn’t a bad thing).
  • Believe that God dislikes us since he isn’t letting us be “happy.”
  • Complain and become bitter at God which hurts our relationship with God.
  • Become jealous when God blesses others.
  • Not learn what we need to so we are ready for God’s calling.

End result: Getting stuck spiritually.

If success is becoming more like Christ…

  • Trials are instruments to teach us and prepare us for additional growth and direction in God’s will.
  • Trials help us find character flaws and submit them to God.
  • Trials help us realize we cannot do it on our own strength.
  • Trials are an opportunity to build faith & trust in God.

Wanting to be more like Christ helps us see trials in the proper perspective.

We realize that the trials we face in life are necessary to help us grow to be like Christ and to accomplish things in God’s kingdoms.

This perspective leads us to…

  • See the big picture! God is purposefully teaching you something so he can use you in the future.
  • Have hope in the future. Hope brings us joy & peace.
  • Trust God. There’s a reason the trials are happening.
  • Display to non-believers the “peace that passes understanding.” Trials are an opportunity to display spiritual peace in physical storms.
  • Pray for our personal growth so we may “graduate the class.”

End result: spiritual growth.

In summary:

Trying to get out of trials causes us to:

  • Run from God’s classroom
  • Render us ineffective for God’s bigger plans
  • Focus on the short term struggle instead of the long term benefits
  • Become bitter and selfish

We view trials as roadblocks to our success.

Embracing trials causes us to:

  • Pay attention to God’s lesson
  • Prepare us for God’s bigger plans
  • Rejoice in what God is turning us into (and not complain about how he’s doing it).
  • Become humble and submissive.

We view trials as building blocks to our success.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4


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