Without Jesus, we can’t have grace. And Jesus is the one we need to place ALL our hope in so that we can "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).
Let's be honest. We don't like pain. We've come to equate pain and discomfort with being "wrong" and "unproductive." For a long time I lived under the misconception that life would smooth out at some point, that the challenges would get easier as I got older, that overall, life would be easier and more manageable.
In some ways that's true but not because life became easier but because I'm a very different person than I was twenty years ago. I handle the challenges of life very differently than I used to. And what I believe now is radically different than what I believed then.
Radical Change #1:
Belief How we look at the trials, challenges and discomforts of life will directly affect the way you walk through them. Our trials, challenges and discomforts are purposed or repurposed by God for our good. This is the total truth of Joseph’s story in the Old Testament and as stated so clearly in Romans 8:28. If we believe that God words for our good in ALL things, then we can actively seek that good in everything we experience. When we see only the problem, all we see is the problem and our god is too small. But when we seek THE God first, trust Him and place our hope in Him, our trials, challenges and discomforts are the stepping stones to stronger faith, deeper trust and a growing love relationship with our Creator.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. — Hebrews 11:1
Radical Change #2:
Perspective With the shift of perspective comes a deeper understanding of God's designs and purposes. We begin the see the beyond what the Bible calls our "momentary troubles" and grasp a bigger picture. We live more and more in an eternal mindset that sees the prize to come instead of defining our life only by what we see in that moment. That's the most radical shift of all—when we realize that what we see today is not the complete picture nor is indicative of how things will always be.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. — 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Radical Change #3:
Approach Sometimes the challenge we face is due to circumstances outside our cause or control. Sometimes they are completely internal as God works in us to remove lies, bring healing and restore our soul. And other times and more often than we realize, it's a combination of the two because I'm finding that what we hold within ourselves also directly affects how we handle our situation.
But regardless of which type, we have a choice in every one. Will we rail, complain and resist the process? Or will we co-labor with God for the maximum benefit? I want to share a truth with you that I know came straight from the Holy Spirit as I prayed about writing this post.
The fruit of one trial becomes the strength of the next.
When we walk in this truth, we are walking in trust in God and walking with the Holy Spirit. This is how we find and keep hope. Not a hope based upon our circumstances which will shift and change at any moment. But a hope that is based upon an unchanging and eternal God who loves us more deeply than we can comprehend and desires/allows in our lives only that which will bring us closer to Him.
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 boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we 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
This is what I call "the hope-filled shift." Our belief, perspective and approach are so radically changed that no matter what we face, we don't lose hope. It's not easy but this is where we receive and live in the full promises of God. This is where we leave the mentality of defeat and walk in the reality of victory. We walk in freedom.
My friends, I want this for you so much that my heart and spirit actually ache in earnestness for you to know and live it. Together we can walk this path of faith, hope, love, victory and freedom. Will you join me?
Love you with the passion of Jesus!