Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
What is normal? When prescribed a new medication, it generally comes with a list of potential side effects. There are some that are considered safe but then there are some that are harmful. It instructs the patient to see stop taking the medicine and seek medical attention immediately. The problem is not necessarily in the drug as the manufacturer underwent rigorous testing to get it approved and licensed to manufacture it. The true test is how a person’s body responds to it. The medicine has the potential to be good for you but to some it is toxic. How do you know the difference? Before you try it, study it. Read the directions carefully. Know the potential harmful side effects. Pay attention. If you are concerned stop and seek guidance. Not anything special in this list of directions. Knowledge and understanding are important in life. The application of such is called wisdom. The Word of God calls wisdom precious.
To take a new medication is to introduce something unknown to the human body. There is no possible way to know how our body will receive it unless it is ingested. Even the most powerful antibiotic does not take the fever, pain or illness away immediately, there is a process as it aids our immune system in fighting the culprit. Vaccinations operate on the same concept. We introduce a controlled amount of the known to develop an antibody to protect from contracting the illness altogether. It creates turmoil in our body so that our immune system learns to fight and overcome the attacker in controlled state. I wonder sometimes if the perceived attacks in our life are really just the Lord boosting our spiritual immune system to form a greater bond with us and bless us beyond belief.
Transition produces turmoil in our life. People desire comfort, convenience and control. It is served to us a on a platter each and every day. When faced with the opposites – discomfort, inconvenience and a lack of control – our lives are thrown into chaos. Unfavorable conditions or unexpected circumstances cause us to lose confident in God to those who have not found hope to be the anchor of their soul. Salvation justifies us by faith. We are secure in Jesus. We have peace with God including righteousness solely provided by the Blood of Jesus giving us access. His Grace is sufficient for me. It works best in my weakness. I am not given to weakness even though it is the place where His Power is manifested in my life. Just living in Christ, I can rejoice in the hope of Glory that is to come. I have everything the Kingdom has to offer at my fingertips. It is grasped in surrender which is generally produced by turmoil.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
If I go to the doctor and he gives me a treatment plan to battle an illness, I follow the plan. I am no longer concerned about the effects of my sickness because I have been diagnosed (so I know what it is), am under medical supervision, prescribed medication, and been given careful instructions on the steps ahead. I am a healthcare advocate deep down inside. I do not understand people who blindly follow physicians, nurses and healthcare providers without asking questions. Many will do so, and not ask the first question or read any of the material included with medication. (Insert palm to the forehead with a smack.) God has carefully outlined and detailed a better way of life. He explains the process of reconciliation and refinement including its reward – yet no one really reads or listens. What would happen if we were as quick to trust the Lord as we do the professionals who instruct us?
This morning I was reading about Jacob. Bless his heart. He was a manipulative, deceiver from the start but that’s not the man God created or called him to be. He lived in a state of self-inflicted turmoil but the Lord used his troubles and tribulations to mold him into a man of God. In Genesis 28, Isaac sends his son away to live with his uncle, Laban. It was for his own good. Surely, Esau had enough of his brother taking what was rightfully his and hiding under mama’s skirt. So he embarked on the journey alone, it is there that he meet the Lord and sees the vision of the angels moving between heaven and earth. It is there that Jacob forms a covenant with God. Jacob was still a manipulative, deceiver but God made a promise to him. Once at Laban’s house, Jacob gets his first taste deception. Given Leah in marriage rather than his beloved, Rachel, he now must continue to work for Laban to have her. God blesses the work of his hand and Jacob becomes wealthy in heritage and wealth. There is turmoil in his success by the sons of Laban so Jacob again is in the turmoil of transition but with greater responsibilities than before. He must flee with his wives, children, servant, livestock and more. Laban pursues and again God intervenes for Jacob and they form a covenant. However, he still had to face Esau again. With only the promise God had given him on his departure, he must risk it all to obey the Word of God to return. It would have been more comfortable to stay put, definitely more convenient than moving his entire estate, and now he was out of control as God must go before him and quiet his brother’s heart. Trusting God for our own salvation is one thing, but when it comes to those who we love it is a whole other matter. So Jacob sends them ahead, and spends a night alone to prepare for his next encounter. It would not be with Esau, but the Living God. Jacob wrestled with God that night. Are you wrestling with God? Are you in the turmoil of transition? Is he asking for your trust?
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
God has given us hope that does not disappoint based on His Unconditional and Unfailing Love not our response to His Love. The word “love” used in this passage is “agape love” or love by choice different than “philos” or love by chance. God loves us on purpose and it is backed by a plan. He cannot and will not allow us to remain in our faithless and untrusting state if at all possible placing limits on the limitless life that His Kingdom has to offer. We must go through the turmoil of transition to enter new seasons, have new harvests and live in the prosperity that only a flourishing soul can experience.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NKJV) Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
The enemy has absolutely no control over your life as a believer. He cannot come close to the Christ in us. However, he doesn’t have to touch us. All he has to do is convince is that he is the culprit behind our trials, troubles, tests and tribulation. It is the greatest lie and stronghold that holds many who battle the perceived threat rather than experiencing the Glory of God ready to be released by faith and confident hope signified by Christ in us rather than conditions around us. Jacob was always building memorials to the Lord in the wilderness. Not when his family or flock flourished but in the barrenness, brokenness and isolation of the wilderness did Jacob encounter God, experience His Presence and build an altar. What if your turmoil really is transition? What if it is prescribed by God to move you from natural existing to supernatural living? What if it is giving you access to the Kingdom but boosting your faith and burying your hope so it will not be moved again? Hold on. Don’t give up. Stop looking around and look up. We must draw near to the Father with a true heart and full assurance of faith so that He can release that which is our inheritance as the beloved Children of the Living God!
James 1:2-4 (NKJV) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.