I know its been a while and the blogs are further in between this year so far. Things have been very hectic and very trying in this first part of 2013. While I was planning on blogging through the Bible, I have found it hard to find the time to do as much as I originally planned. Today as I was preparing for my men’s Bible study on Thursday nights, I was reading in 2 Thessalonians and was inspired and encouraged by Paul’s words to this early bunch of Christians. 2 Thessalonians 1:5 … Your suffering proves that God’s judgment is right and that you are considered worthy of his kingdom.
I am not comparing my suffering to that of a martyr or even that of the early church, but I have learned that anyone’s sufferings are real and challenging to them at the time. As I told you a while back, our church had a fire that smoked out a whole side of our building that included my office. My office is my sanctuary for study and thought and prayer and I do a lot of planning for our church there. Not being able to use it makes me feel like I am out of touch or at least out of sync with the church. That and the fact that dealing with insurance and contractors can be enough to challenge anyone’s faith, has made it a long 3 months.
Spiritual warfare comes in many forms. It can be as simple as strained relationships and as complex as attacks on one’s faith. It seems that mine have been on many levels. During this time I try to keep a smile on my face and my focus on helping others, but the smiles seem to be forced more than natural and the faith of knowing I am doing God’s will has been challenged with each decision. I have to continually remind myself that I am fighting battles that are not about people or me, but about people’s souls. The strained relationships cause tensions that make it hard to show love and feel love. Although I know love is not about one’s feelings, I also know that without the feelings it must be continually reminded in order to not forget who you love.
God has promised us victory over our enemies. He has promised to be with us in every situation and that His love is greater than my love. My challenge is to depend on His love when mine is weakened. Showing love is not always about a smile. It can be about difficult circumstance that makes happiness depend more on joy and peace rather than good times and good feelings.
So as I was reading this, I was reminded that suffering for Christ of any kind is part of being worthy of God’s kingdom. Worthy only because of what Christ did and never because of what I do and what I feel. That makes me feel better.
So if you find yourself feeling down and out or like you can’t stand anymore in the face of the attacks that are surrounding you, remember that Christ suffered for doing no wrong. He suffered for my wrong and your wrong and gladly bore our sins on the cross so that we could be forgiven and made righteous and worthy of His kingdom.
I thank God that my feelings do not mean I am not loved. I thank God that He feels the same about me regardless of my feelings and that His feelings for me are pure love and unchanging. I thank Him that I am counted worthy to suffer for His cause and that I am in the battles that mean so much. Even if I fail, He will not. And if I fail while loving and serving Him, then I am ever bit as worthy of His kingdom and will never be condemned because of Christ’s work and not my own. Trials make you stronger because the Bible says when we are weak, then He is strong. Thanks God. I await your strength and thank you for the trials.